[AI] New drug to treat blindness

Aruni Sharma aruni100 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 14 07:47:50 EDT 2008


New drug to treat blindness
London (PTI): A ray of hope for millions of visually challenged people 
worldwide! A new drug to
treat common forms of blindness is all set to go for clinical trial.
Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed the drug to 
treat eye diseases affecting
the elderly and diabetics, such as age-related muscular degeneration 
(AMD) and diabetic etinopathy,
the British media reported on Friday.
The research team, led by Prof Dave Bates and Dr Steve Harper of the 
varsity's Microvascular
Research Laboratories, has identified a novel, naturally occurring form 
of a compound which
inhibits the formation of new blood vessels -- a major cause of the 
"wet" type of AMD and also
diabetic retinopathy. The research has been funded by Britain's leading 
eye research charity, Fight
for Sight.
The news of the drug comes just days after scientists in the United 
States had claimed that a
bionic eye which can restore sight to the blind would be available 
commercially within two years.
The second-generation device, current being trialled, consists of three 
elements. First, a
miniature camera worn in a pair of dark glasses, which transmits images 
to a radio receiver
implanted near the patient's eye.
This then sends a signal on to a tiny silicon and platinum chip, about 
four millimetre square, that
sits on the retina. The chip's electrodes stimulate the ganglion cells 
that transmit visual
information to the optic nerve and onwards to the brain, which can then 
construct a visual image.
"A plate is seen as a saucer of light, and a knife as a runway of light. 
It works by building up
images like a dot-matrix printer, or pixels on a computer screen," lead 
researcher Prof Mark
Humayun had said.

http://www.thehindu.com/holnus/008200803141550.htm




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