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AMD at the Centre for Ophthalmolgy in Tübingen

26. March 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Europe.

The European research project EYE-RISK

The EYE-RISK consortium will study risk factors and preventive measures for Age-related Macular degeneration - The EYE-RISK consortium receives 6 million euros by the EU programme Horizon2020

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Europe. Medicine, however, so far lacks the basis for preventing and curing AMD as the pathways that drive vision loss in AMD are unknown and the various factors that influence the risk for AMD are not understood. The European research consortium EYE-RISK wil use epidemiology and systems biology to obtain deep –omics data and will identify risk factors and preventive measures for Age-related Macular degeneration.

EYE-RISK aims to advance the science of AMD in three areas:

  • an algorithm for the prediction of individual risks for AMD used by ophthalmologists and their patients to prevent and manage disease
  • a protein array for the diagnosis of AMD risks and endophenotypes
  • a molecular target for therapy development.

Science established that the probability of contracting Age-related macular degneration increases sharply after the age of 65 and that several several genetic variants determine large parts of the genetic risk for AMD. But it is not known what cellular signaling pathways drive degeneration of the macula at older age and what genetic and non-genetic factors accelerate or slow down disease progression of AMD.

EYE-RISK will use the data about the epidemiology of AMD in Europe to analyse the gene-environment interaction. EYE-RISK will develop a prediction algorithm for  risk factors and will use in silico and in vitro analytics and modeling to identify cellular signaling pathways that are dysregulated in AMD and drive disease onset, severity and progression. Both, the prediction algorithm and the disease drivers  will be clinically validated.

EYE-RISK comprises eleven institutions in six countries. The European Commission has awarded 6 million Euros to EYE-RISK in its Horizon2020 programme of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Directorate Health. EYE-RISK will run from 2015 to 2019 and is led by the Centre for Ophthalmology of the University of Tübingen.

EYE-RISK partners include the Eye Hospitals in Tübingen, Rotterdam and London, the Departments of Medical Genetics and Proteomics of the Universities of Rotterdam, Nijmegen, Bordeaux and Tübingen, the two pharmaceutical companies Ayoxxa and Roche from Cologne and Basel and the patient organization ProRetina.

hr-iNFO Fit und Gesund
Makula-Degeneration - Neue Wege bei der Behandlung und Erforschung

Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Bartz-Schmidt
Prof. Dr. Marius Ueffing

In this 20 min German audio podcast of the HR radio station, the Director of the Eye Hospital of the University of Tuebingen, Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Bartz-Schmidt, and the Director of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tuebingen, Prof. Dr. Marius Ueffing, discuss the current state of knowledge for Age-related macular degeneration and introduce into the aims of their new European consortium EYE-RISK that aims to identify risk factors and disease drivers of AMD.

Medicine so far is able to detect AMD and to describe the course of the disease on a microscopic level. Medicine, however, is unable to prevent or stop AMD as the molecular pathways that drive vision loss in AMD are unknown and the various factors that influence the risk for AMD are not understood.
The EYE-RISK consortium will study risk factors and disease drivers in order to enable individual predicction and prevention to patients.