Scientists at the National Eye Institute have discovered malfunctioning “trash clean up” cells that may be the new and more definitive step in treating retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that causes blindness by targeting the retinal layer of the eye.

Microglial cells normally target “invader” cells to clean up the area around the central nervous system and ward off infection. However, researchers have shown they also accelerate the damage by receiving “eat me” signals sent out form the mutated photoreceptors in the retina that become stressed. The study, currently accepting applications for human clinical trials, was developed in mice and has shown that the current genetic, and therefore difficult to target, therapy may have a new pathway to add.

http://embomolmed.embopress.org/content/early/2015/06/29/emmm.201505298

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