“A promising technique for treating human eye disease has proven effective in preclinical studies and may lead to new treatments to prevent blindness, according to experiments conducted at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California,” according to Science Daily. “The studies involved controlling the actions of microRNAs, tiny pieces of RNA that were once considered to be "junk" but are now known to fine-tune gene activation and expression. The researchers showed that treating mice with short RNA strands that precisely target and inhibit microRNAs (antimicroRNAs) can stop the aberrant growth of blood vessels (neovascularization). It is this abnormal proliferation of vessels that exacerbates vision loss in neovascular eye diseases like wet macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, two of the leading causes of blindness. Described in the cover story of the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the microRNA treatments blocked aberrant vessel growth without damaging existing vasculature or neurons in three separate models of neovascular eye disease -- a proof-of-principle that suggests future treatment based on the same approach may be effective in humans.” Read more.