Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older, affecting around 50 million people worldwide. Researchers at the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital are part of an international research team that has significantly expanded the number of genetic factors known to play a role in this disease.
Professor Andrew Lotery, who led the Southampton contribution, hopes the findings may help improve the understanding of the biological processes that lead to AMD and identify new therapeutic targets for potential drug development.
“This is a landmark study that has identified 34 genes, which when faulty increase your risk of developing this devastating disease,” says Andrew. “Identifying these genes is the key to understanding what causes AMD. As a result this could open new doors to finding more efficient ways of treating this very common disease.
This study is an amazing achievement and shows the power of having scientists all over the world working together.”
The new research was funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and published in the journal Nature Genetics.