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Ophthalmology faculty finds potential new therapy for retinal degeneration

Vladimir Kefalov, PhD

A research team led by the UC Irvine School of Medicine has identified a potential new gene-independent therapeutic strategy for treating the millions of people worldwide who suffer from retinal degeneration, a group of diseases that can lead to vision loss.

The study published today online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that mice with a mutation in the Nr2e3 gene, which is essential for the normal development of rod photoreceptors (cells in the retina that allow us to see in low light), were resistant to retinal degeneration in three different models of the disease. The mutation in Nr2e3 results in the expression in rods of a subset of genes normally present in cone photoreceptors, the cells in the retina that allow us to see in color and bright light.

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