Macular Degeneration Research
Jeffrey Stern, M.D., Ph.D.
Regenerative Research Foundation
Title: alphaB-crystallin and the Amyloid-beta mediated RPE stress response in Age related Macular Degeneration
Non-Technical Title: The role of Alzheimer Disease protein and the stress response in AMD
Duration: April 1, 2008 - May 31, 2010
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $100,000
A protein related to Alzheimer's disease is known to be present in cases of AMD. This proposal will examine a toxic product of this protein and ask whether it is involved in the development of AMD.
Researchers have discovered that a protein present in the Alzheimer's diseased brain is also present in the back of the eye (the retina) of patients with AMD. These scientists have found that a second protein, alphaB-crystallin, is also present. These two proteins can bind together to produce a compound that can be toxic to nervous system cells and promote the growth of blood vessels. Both of these processes could stimulate AMD progression.This study will examine whether these proteins interact in AMD and whether this interaction has a detrimental effect. They will alter the levels of each of these proteins to see if doing so improves the health of retinal cells. Finally, they will test a potential new drug for AMD that lowers the Alzheimer's disease protein to see if it also improves the health of human retinal cells. If these culture studies are successful, they could pave the way toward future clinical trials.