The Bright Focus Foundation awarded our laboratory with a grant to study inflammation molecules in Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Cytokines are important proteins that cause inflammation and bleeding in age-related macular degeneration. We are using protein analysis methods to identify cytokines and their downstream signals that are highly expressed in the retina that is most susceptible to macular degeneration.
In neovascular stages of wet AMD, leaky blood vessels grow into the retina and damage vision. These blood vessels are coaxed into the retina by a communication “cross‐talk” that may exist between hundreds of proteins and chemicals. The lab applies special methods to identify these proteins and chemicals from retina blood vessels that were surgically removed from the eyes of human donors who were either healthy or who had been diagnosed with AMD. Comparison of the profile between healthy and diseased eyes presents a number of cross‐talk candidates. The identities of these candidate proteins may then inspire the design of combination drugs to treat AMD before the invasion of leaky blood vessels promotes rapid loss of vision.