New research shows link between dry and wet AMD

Posted: Friday 24 January 2020

New research has shown a possible link between both wet and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a lack of a protein called DICER1 in the eye.

This missing protein may have an effect in the cause and progression of both the wet and dry forms the disease. DICER1 has previously been associated with dry AMD and cell death in the retina, but this is the first time it has been shown to be related to the abnormal blood vessel growth seen in wet AMD.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the UVA School of Engineering have successfully treated AMD in mice using gene therapy in those lacking DICER1. They were able to do this by successfully reintroducing this protein into the eye. This could eventually lead to a new treatment for both wet and dry AMD. However, as this research was solely performed in mice, more research needs to be performed into the effect of DICER1 in human AMD.

DICER1 gene therapy treatment is far from ready to be tested in humans, and would require extensive research before being approved as a prescribed treatment for AMD.

Researcher Brad Gelfand, said: "It's not as if this is the final answer to the problem, but it's certainly a big step along the way, hopefully."