Cell Death Mechanisms

Zelltodmechanismen

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Cell Death Mechanisms

This group investigates the mechanisms of neuronal cell death in the retina to forward the development of novel therapies for retinal diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases are an ever increasing health concern in the ageing human populations. The retina as an integral part of the central nervous system (CNS) combines easy access with a large number of animal models available for investigations of development, function, and pathology. We use the retina as a model system to investigate neuronal degeneration with a particular focus on photoreceptor cell death and inherited retinal degeneration (RD), diseases grouped under several different clinical terms including Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Leber´s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), and Achromatopsia (ACHM).

In the developed world RD is the prevalent cause of blindness in the working age population. Although the underlying genetic mutations have been identified in many cases, the degeneration mechanisms are still largely unknown and at present there is no treatment available. A precise knowledge of the mechanisms at play is, however, essential for the development of rational therapies. The hope is that once we understand the mechanisms underlying retinal degeneration, we will be able to use this knowledge to develop treatments for RD and possibly other diseases that affect the CNS.