London: There could soon be new treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the major causes of blindness, as researchers have identified a new protein intimately connected to the disease.
The protein called Factor H-like protein 1 (FHL-1) is responsible for protecting our eyes from attack by a part of our immune system called the complement system.
It has been shown that AMD sufferers are genetically predisposed to develop the condition.
"The research suggests that it is FHL-1 that protects the back of the eye from immune attack. Insufficient FHL-1 in the back of the eye may result in inflammation that eventually results in vision loss from AMD," said lead researcher Simon Clark from the University of Manchester in Britain.
Clark successfully identified FHL-1 in human eye tissue that was donated, with consent for research, following removal of the corneas for transplantation.
"There is no better way to understand and prevent blindness than to use actual human tissue," he added.
The research was published in the Journal of Immunology.