Project DetailsThe body's immune system can ward off attacks by bacteria, viruses and other external threats. However, it also has systems in place to respond to internal threats, like the build-up of drusen—tiny waste deposits in the back of the eye—that happens in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In previous studies, Drs. Peter Humphries, Matthew Campbell, and colleagues have observed that drusen can trigger a localized immune response by a collection of proteins called the "inflammasome." In this project, they will determine why this occurs and what components of the inflammasome play key roles in causing AMD. This group will also screen a range of drugs that could tip the protein composition of drusen to a healthy ratio to better-treat AMD. Many of the drugs they will use in the screen already have regulatory approval for human use, which may accelerate their entry into human clinical trials.