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The kids are alright—but not older people

APRIL 2, 2020 by University of Montreal

Why does COVID-19 affect older people more than young children? Why are the symptoms more severe in seniors than in toddlers? What are the cellular mechanisms that explain how the infection progresses?

Gene targeting helps overcome the resistance of brain cancer to therapy

17 AUG 2020 Salle de Presse McGill

New insight into a gene that controls energy production in cancer stem cells could help in the search for a more effective treatment for glioblastoma. A McGill-led study published in Nature Communications reveals that suppressing the OSMR gene can improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

Promising discovery for patients with diabetic retinopathy

Science  21 Aug 2020 by Mirage News and udem Nouvelles

Published in the prestigious journal Science, a new study has shed light on a cellular process that occurs in the retinas of people with diabetic retinopathy. This discovery could lead to the development of a treatment for this serious complication of diabetes.

Remodeling vasculature to avoid blindness

Science  21 Aug 2020 by Eugene A. Podrez, Tatiana V. Byzova

Vascular remodeling is essential for building hierarchically structured vascular networks, which in turn support proper organ function (1). The retina is particularly dependent on optimal blood supply, and insufficient or excessive vasculature often leads to blindness. The process of vascular regression reduces blood vessel density, facilitating normalization of vasculature and subsequent tissue repair (2). Regression is either caused by the withdrawal of essential vascular growth factors or by triggering endothelial apoptosis and subsequent pruning of vasculature (3). However, it is unknown how dysfunctional and excessive retinal blood vessels are selected and marked for pruning. On page 934 of this issue, Binet et al. (4) reveal that pathological vasculature in the retina of mice and humans orchestrates its own remodeling by promoting the extrusion of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). This mechanism might be applied to other pathologies that require vascular remodeling, such as cancer, pulmonary hypertension, and heart disease (3).

Discovery Paves Road for New Treatments to Prevent Blindness in Babies

September 17th, 2014 by FFB Canada

Babies born with Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), one of the most common causes of vision loss in children, stand to benefit from an exciting discovery made possible, in part, by the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The discovery was published on September 14, 2014 in the prestigious medical journal, Nature Medicine. The study’s lead author, Dr. Jean-Sébastien…

A New View of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Starving Eye Cells Contribute To Loss Of Vision In Seniors

March 14th, 2016 by FFB Canada

Story guest authored by Derek Waldner with contributions by Dr. Mary Sunderland. Derek is a neuroscience graduate student at the University of Calgary and a knowledge translation intern at the FFB. Even though age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50, we still don’t understand the cause of…

Top 10 Discoveries Driving the Race to Restore Sight in 2016

November 30th, 2016 by FFB Canada

At the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) we are motivated by a singular goal: develop new treatments for blindness and vision loss. This goal fuels all of the research that we fund. Today, we know more about blinding eye diseases than ever before. This knowledge is power because it shows us where to direct our resources…

Dr. Jean-Sébastien Joyal’s discovery in 2016 has fundamentally changed how we understand wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). His work established several groundbreaking findings—which is why this research was featured on the cover of the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. First, it was shown that photoreceptors use an alternative pathway (lipid β-oxidation), in addition to glucose metabolism, to produce energy. Second, by genetically and pharmacologically manipulating this pathway to simulate nutrient scarcity, researchers were able to show that starving photoreceptors increases production of VEGF – the signaling molecule associated with AMD-causing blood vessel proliferation. Finally, it was shown that this increase in VEGF by energy deficient photoreceptors causes wet AMD-like retinal lesions. These findings provide strong evidence for a previously unknown mechanism underlying wet AMD that will open avenues to future sight-saving treatment strategies. 

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