A clinical trial has found that injecting a common cold-like virus into the eyes of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients can halt and even reverse the progression of the disease, Science Alert reports.
It's a small, preliminary trial, and the results will need to be replicated in a much larger group of patients, but it shows that a single injection of a specially engineered virus can stimulate the body's natural immune response, clearing out the fluid that causes permanent vision loss.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center targeted a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is overactive in people with wet AMD, a rare and more severe form of the disease that causes new blood vessels to grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid into the eye.
Wet AMD affects around 10 percent of all AMD patients. Current treatments involve getting injections in the eye once every four weeks - for life.
The Johns Hopkins study shows that a single injection may reverse the disease and prevent ts return.
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