Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the UK and there are currently no medical treatments for a majority of people who suffer from this condition.
Despite the fact that AMD affects older people, the risk of developing this condition is largely determined by an individuals’ genetic makeup. In addition, lifestyle factors such as smoking contribute to risk. The ultimate aim of our research is to develop a stratified medicine approach whereby genetically ‘at risk’ individuals are identified and appropriate therapeutic interventions (possibly dependent upon genotype) made before irreversible damage occurs. We have already constructed a genetic test that can predict AMD risk. However, in order to develop new medicines to prevent AMD we need to understand more about the biochemistry of AMD initiation and progression and how this is influenced by genotype. Therefore, we have established a team of scientists, led by Professor Paul Bishop, to undertake this major programme of work. This team involves researchers and facilities across MAHSC including university academics in the Centre for Hearing and Vision and Centre for Genomic Medicine, along with scientists in the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester. They are working with colleagues at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital including Manchester Eye Bank, and The Centre for Advanced Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics (CADET) in a concerted effort to achieve this ambitious goal of developing new medicines for AMD.