The human body uses inflammation to protect itself from an infection or an injury, and to instruct tissues to begin healing. An overactive, uncontained inflammatory response, however can cause health problems. Indeed, chronic inflammation, which lasts for weeks, months, or longer, can cause lasting damage to many body tissues. Recently scientists have found that the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older, may be the consequence of unchecked, ongoing inflammation.
In this project we aim at controlling inflammation in the back of the eye with the delivery of microRNA (miRNA) therapeutics. miRNAs are recently discovered, small noncoding RNAs that control gene regulation. Reducing chronic, pathologic inflammation may be useful not only for the treatment of AMD, but also for other inflammatory disorders of the eye such as diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, and glaucoma.