Researchers have identified potential biomarkers for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that may lead to earlier diagnoses and better prognostic information for patients. The biomarkers could also potentially lead to new pharmaceutical targets for AMD treatment.
Patients with any stage of AMD carry signs of the disease in their blood that may be found through special laboratory tests, according to a new study led by AMD researchers based at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. The study describes the new technique known as ‘metabolomics’, which can identify blood profiles associated with AMD and its level of severity.
“Because the signs and symptoms of early stage AMD are very subtle, with visual symptoms only becoming apparent at more advanced stages of the disease, identification of biomarkers in human blood plasma may allow us to better understand the early to intermediate stages of AMD so we may intervene sooner, and ultimately provide better care,” explained co-senior author Dr. Joan W. Miller, Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Chair of Ophthalmology and the David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.
In Australia, Clinical Associate Professor Gerald Liew is researching the metabolomics signature of age-related macular degeneration supported by a research grant from Macular Disease Foundation Australia. Dr. Liew said results from Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers confirmed his team’s project is on the right track, which, when released will offer more thorough findings.