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Radical new approach to treatment of Age related Macular Degeneration

Radical new approach to treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Monday 09 May 2016

It is widely believed that Wet AMD is triggered by oxygen deprivation, but breaking research suggests that dysfunctional energy metabolism in the eye is the cause. If this is the case, it may be possible to use drugs to help photoreceptors take in nutrients - a whole new avenue to treating diseases like AMD.

Photoreceptors use more energy than any other cell in the human body, and were assumed to be powered by glucose, but the research from Boston Children’s Hospital shows they also need lipids. To ensure an adequate energy supply, the cells have evolved a special ability to switch between energy sources and inhibit energy gathering from alternative sources.

The production of a particular protein as part of this process is known to encourage abnormal blood vessel formation in AMD. While blockers for this protein already exist and are used in AMD treatment, they have systemic side effects.

The new research suggests that blocking the lipid sensor could provide an effective answer. Trials on mice have produced positive results, and the next step will be to see if humans have lipid sensors similar to those in mice. If so, drugs already being developed for the treatment of diabetes could be trialled.


  1. Science Daily:
    New view of age-related macular degeneration: Fuel-starved light receptors.



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  • Ian Cuthbert
    28 May 2016

    It would be useful to lay persons like myself if you defined AMD at the beginning of the article rather than leaving us to guess the meaning of the acronym. I assume that the letters stand for "Age-related Macular Degeneration" but that is only my supposition.

  • Serious Readers
    02 Jun 2016

    Dear Mr Cuthbert – thank you so much for pointing this out. We have now changed the title of the blog to avoid any confusion.

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