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Possible step toward preventing Wet Macular Degeneration discovered.

Angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels, is a normal process that is vital for development and wound healing. However, excessive expansion of blood vessels can lead to diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration, cancer, and diabetes. Researchers at Tufts University have recently discovered ways to prevent harmful forms of angiogenesis through the analysis of a critical biological pathway. Galectin-3 is a carbohydrate-binding protein that is known to promote angiogenesis in the body, but the mechanism behind this relationship was previously unknown. Led by Dr. Noorjahan Panjwani, research has shown that galectin-3 promotes angiogenesis by binding to carbohydrate portions of integrin proteins. Through the understanding of this pathway and using mice as subjects, Dr. Panjwani and her colleagues have ascertained methods to target galectin-3 and prevent harmful angiogenesis. By either applying a galectin-3 inhibitor or preventing this protein from binding to integrins, the researchers were able to successfully disrupt the biological pathway and reduce angiogenesis in mice. Scientists are optimistic that these new results will be helpful for the future development of drug treatments that will reduce harmful angiogenesis in the human body. Brian Krawitz Staff Writer

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