Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic medicine and AMD treatment; genetic screening and glaucoma

18.10.2010
AAO-MEACO Joint Meeting 2010 scientific program highlights

Genetic medicine is the focus of two presentations at today's Scientific Program of the 2010 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) – Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) Joint Meeting. The AAO-MEACO meeting is in session October 16 through 19 at McCormick Place, Chicago. It is the largest, most comprehensive ophthalmic education conference in the world.

Seeking Genetics-Specific Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In the past decade ophthalmologists gained a powerful tool to control vision-damaging "wet" age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD): anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications. Anti-VEGF drugs halt or even reverse damage in many wet AMD patients, but some do not respond as well to treatment and so suffer severe vision loss. The new field of pharmacogenetics seeks to enable doctors to individualize treatment based on the patient's genetic profile for a disease. In a collaborative effort, the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine studied whether specific genetic AMD risk factors and/or smoking influenced patients' responses to anti-VEGF treatment.

The researchers reviewed medical records of 36 people with wet AMD who participated in the Unifying Genetic Epidemiology of Macular Degeneration Study. In terms of anti-VEGF treatment, there were 12 responders whose vision improved, 18 maintainers, and 6 poor responders whose vision declined. All patients had been treated with bevacizumab (Avastin) and/or ranibizumab (Lucentis) for at least one year. None of the patients had vision loss due to cataract, geographic atrophy (advanced "dry" AMD), laser scar or retinal pigment epithelial tear. DNA analysis was done for two AMD-genetic risk factors: complement factor H (CFH) and age-related maculopathy susceptibility-2 (ARMS2) genes. Twenty-four patients had been smokers and three were current smokers. The average age was 80 years.

"Neither high risk genetic factors nor smoking history was significantly associated with patients' response to anti-VEGF therapy in our study," said Jaclyn L Kovach, MD. "However, more responders than poor responders carried at least one risk allele for ARMS2, CFH, or for both genes. Repeating this study in a larger population could bring us closer to a gene-guided therapy for wet AMD."

AMD is categorized as either "dry" or "wet." In the advanced "wet" form, abnormal new blood vessels develop under the retina that bleed or leak fluid and form scars. Advanced AMD destroys the detailed, central vision we need to recognize faces, read, drive, and enjoy daily life.

Genetic Screening Could Improve Glaucoma Care

Symptoms of glaucoma, a disease that destroys the optic nerve, can be so subtle that people often don't know they have the condition. About 4.3 million Americans have glaucoma, and doctors estimate that about half of them are unaware of it. Costs associated with treating the most common type of glaucoma now exceed $3 billion. Genetic screening could help catch glaucoma early on, so patients could be tracked and treated in time to save their sight. Janey L Wiggs, MD, PhD, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, said genetic testing is currently able to indicate the presence of or risk for several types of glaucoma. Heredity plays a significant role in the disease.

"Blood or cheek cell samples would be collected from patients and appropriate family members, and then selected genes would be sequenced," said Dr. Wiggs. "We can identify markers for congenital glaucoma, early onset (before age 35) primary open angle glaucoma, and normal tension glaucoma, as well as several other conditions that increase glaucoma risk," she added.

Many more genetic markers may soon be available for use in screening for open angle glaucoma and other disease variants. Dr. Wiggs said the challenge will be to identify combinations of genes and/or environmental factors that will produce the most sensitive, specific screening tests.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 29,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org

Contact: October 15 through 19
Media Relations 510.725.5677
mwade@aao.org
October 20 onward
415.561.8534
media@aao.org

Mary Wade | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aao.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>