Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute have prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina using the gene-editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9.
Angiogenesis involves the abnormal growth of blood cells on the surface of the retina. It occurs in several degenerative eye conditions including proliferative diabetic retinopathy, wet age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy of prematurity.
As part of a study published in Nature Communications, scientists targeted a specific protein, VEGFR2, that is known to play an essential role in angiogenesis.
A viral vector was used to deliver genomic edits to the protein. Researchers found that a single injection of the gene therapy was able to prevent retinal angiogenesis in mice.
“This work establishes a strong foundation for genome editing as a strategy to treat angiogenesis-associated diseases,” the authors concluded.