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Researchers link the body's complement system to onset of AMD

Researchers have discovered that the complement system plays a critical role in the inherited forms of macular degeneration.The complement system is a part of the immune system and it helps antibodies clear pathogens from the body. Using mice that were genetically engineered to have an inherited form of macular degeneration, the researchers turned off their complement system and thus were able to prevent the onset of the disease. While previous studies highlighted the fact that variants in encoding genes of the complement system are risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), this study is the first to show the role that the complement system plays in the inherited form of macular degeneration. Researchers do not yet understand how the modifications to the complement system components lead to the development of age-related macular degeneration but drugs that prevent specific complement system functions are currently undergoing clinical testing as possible treatments for AMD.*

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