The Inflammasome and Novel Therapeutic Targets in AMD
Dr. Humphries’ and Dr. Campbell’s team has recently discovered that a component of the inflammasome, IL-18, appears to play a protective role in the development of wet AMD by preventing the expression of VEGF, a key protein involved in the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV; the damaging ingrowth of blood vessels into the retina). The team discovered that mice lacking the component IL-18 developed exacerbated CNV, which directly implies that this molecule is central to the development of the disease. Current antibody-based therapies in use for treating wet AMD involve the direct intraocular injection of medication targeting VEGF. The team has discovered that IL-18 can actually decrease VEGF levels itself which, while leading to a better understanding of the disease process, could also lead to a new therapeutic strategy for wet AMD. In the future, drugs directed against the inflammasome, including IL-18, will be tested to see if they can reduce the drusen deposits in the retina.
First published on: July 6, 2011
Last modified on: March 20, 2013