CUHK study discovers correlation between a protein called ‘Angiopoietin2’ and wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible central vision loss in elderly. It is estimated that over 190 million people worldwide are suffering from AMD and 1 in 10 of these develop irreversible sight loss. Due to an aging population, it is predicted that the disease will affect over 280 million people worldwide by 2040. The wet form of AMD has a more accelerated onset and, if left untreated, causes irreversible and severe central vision loss. Today, around 15% of Wet AMD patients do not respond to standard treatment and continue to lose vision.
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. Angiopoietin2 is a protein known to be involved in the growth of blood vessels elsewhere in the body. A recent study by The Chinese University of Hong Kong has discovered a relationship between Angiopoietin2 and the severity of Wet AMD. Scientists from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of CUHK have found that the level of Angiopoietin2 is significantly elevated inside the eyes of patients with Wet AMD, as compared to normal people, and that it correlates strongly with vision loss and macular swelling. This is the first time that Angiopoietin2 has been associated with Wet AMD. The team of CUHK researchers believes this finding can lead to a breakthrough in Wet AMD treatment in the near future.