In Vivo Molecular Imaging of Neovascular AMD

Ashwath Jayagopal, PhD Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Eye Institute


Dr. Ashwath Jayagopal and colleagues are focusing on developing nanoscale imaging agents capable of detecting AMD biomarkers of early choroidal neovascularization (the damaging invasion of blood vessels into the retina). With this imaging technique, clinicians would be able to better treat AMD patients through enhanced early detection, staging of disease, and monitoring of therapeutic response. Furthermore, this strategy could enable detailed imaging and target discovery in AMD preclinical and clinical studies.

Project Details

The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate the usefulness of a nanotechnology-based approach for imaging critical biomarkers of early wet AMD.

In this approach, Dr. Ashwath Jayagopal and colleagues are using gold nanoparticles engineered to concurrently detect a number of AMD biomarkers. Once the nanoparticles detect their target, they emit a fluorescent light that can then be detected in the eye by a camera.  The team is testing whether this technique can detect biomarkers of wet AMD with high sensitivity, specificity, and safety in animals with wet AMD. Such a technology could enable improved detail in an eye doctor's examination, because it would provide a means for studying each individual patient's biomarker signatures for customized diagnosis and treatment.

This technique could introduce a new clinical approach for enhancing diagnostic capabilities in the management of AMD. Clinicians may be able to detect wet AMD at a point that enables therapies to be administered to the patient in a more timely fashion, better preserving vision. Furthermore, the approach could be used to monitor disease progression and determine whether a course of therapy is effective in treating the patient.