A large-scale, collaborative, systems biology approach is needed to expedite the discovery of treatments for dry AMD—a leading cause of blindness among people 65 and older for which is there is no treatment—according to a report by a working group of scientists appointed by the National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC).
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness worldwide among the elderly, and its prevalence is expected to increase as the population ages.1
There are two forms of this sight-stealing disease: dry AMD and wet AMD. Although wet AMD is chronic and incurable, the disease is manageable with anti-VEGF injections. Vision can be maintained, or even improve, with consistent, regular, anti-VEGF treatment.
Both forms of AMD involve a complex interplay of pathogenic factors, including genetics and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking. Research thus far has failed to decipher how these various factors interact in dry AMD and success in doing so would require a large-scale, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach.
To address this issue, a large-scale, collaborative, systems biology approach is needed to expedite the discovery of treatments for dry AMD—a leading cause of blindness among people 65 and older for which is there is no treatment—according to a report by a working group of scientists appointed by the National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC).2
The NAEC is a 12-member panel that guides the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NAEC charged the working group to assess the state of research on dry AMD and to propose directions for future research.
“The working group thoroughly assessed what is known about dry AMD pathobiology, and the recommendations will be informative for considering future NEI research priorities to align with promising pathways for discovering therapeutic targets,” said NEI Director, Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD.
1. Wong WL, Su X, Li X, et al. Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health;2:e106-e116.
2. Handa JT, Bowes Rickman C, Dick AD, et al. A systems biology approach towards understanding and treating non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Nature communications 2019;10:3347.
3. REGENXBIO. REGENXBIO Announces Additional Positive Interim Phase I/IIa Trial Update for RGX-314 for the Treatment of Wet AMD at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2019 Annual Meeting, 2019.
4. Grishanin R, Vuillemenot B, Sharma P, et al. Preclinical Evaluation of ADVM-022, a Novel Gene Therapy Approach to Treating Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy 2019;27:118-129.