New Collaboration to discover genes responsible for Macular Degeneration
Apr 1, 2005 - 5:00:38 PM

ParAllele BioScience, Inc. announced today its joint collaboration agreement with the University of Iowa Cell Biology and Functional Genomics Laboratory, the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and the UI Center for Macular Degeneration to accelerate the discovery of genes associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The research initiative will be led by Gregory Hageman, Ph.D., professor at the UI Carver College of Medicine.

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the developed world, affecting 15 to 20 percent of individuals over the age of 60, or an estimated 50 million individuals.

"The molecular events leading to the development of AMD are poorly understood and no pharmacological treatment has been shown to be effective in preventing, arresting or reversing the loss of vision associated with early AMD," Hageman said.

Recent genome-wide linkage analyses have revealed loci on multiple chromosomes with the potential to harbor major AMD-associated genes. "We choose to collaborate with ParAllele because of their ability to comprehensively analyze those regions for both common and rare mutations that may be AMD-associated," he added. "Our long range goal is to identify new pathways and therapeutic targets that will hasten the development of pharmaceutical agents capable of delaying the onset and/or progression of AMD."

Hageman's studies are funded by the National Eye Institute at NIH and additional corporate entities.

"The agreement is an exciting opportunity for us to combine ParAllele's strengths in pharmacogenomics and high throughput gene mutation discovery with the acknowledged leadership of Dr. Hageman and his Institute in the field of AMD-associated pathways," said Nick Naclerio, CEO of ParAllele BioScience, Inc.

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