New Blood Test Signals Hope for Halting Blindness

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Dr. Riccardo Natoli of the Australian National University.
The test can detect patients at risk of macular degeneration.

Lead researcher Riccardo Natoli, from The John Curtin School of Medical Research and Australian National University Medical School, says a new blood test can detect macular degeneration earlier than current methods, The Canberra Times reports.
“The detection mechanisms we currently have for [the disease] happen too late,” Dr. Natoli asserts.

“Once [the disease] starts there is a threshold tipping point, and once a patient gets over that point, there is nothing that can be done to save their sight.”

By the time the disease is diagnosed, Dr. Natoli says, “you look at the back of the eye and you already see that photoreceptors, the light sensing cells of the eye, are starting to die. Once that’s lost, there is no repairing it.

“We are focusing on early diagnosis and early treatment strategies that slow down the inflammatory response to see if we can slow the progression of the disease.”

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