Genetic testing for AMD first step toward personalized medicine in eye care

Personalized medicine has become a trend in many facets of health care, from oncology to cardiology, and genetic testing for age-related macular degeneration signals its foray into eye care, according to Steven Ferrucci, OD, FAAO.
“A one-size-does-not-fit-all approach is becoming more evident in the treatment of cancers and hereditary eye diseases as well,” Sherry Bass, OD, FAAO, FCOVD,said in an interview with Primary Care Optometry News.
“It’s common sense that if you can tailor your treatment toward an individual’s profile, you’ll be more successful than using the same treatment for everyone,” Brad Sutton, OD, FAAO, told PCON.
It was only recently, in May 2017, that Medicare and Medicaid issued a positive coverage decision for the Macula Risk PGx and Vita Risk (Arctic) tests once again.
The issue was so important to Sutton, who specializes in ocular disease and surgical comanagement, that he took part in a letter writing campaign before the Medicare ruling.
“We wrote letters as to why genetic testing was valuable,” he said. “We were concerned that the one company left wouldn’t survive. If Medicare took the stance that they wouldn’t be able to cover it, Arctic might go out of business. We had several of our doctors here write letters.”
The Macula Risk test is readily available, easy to implement and now covered by most insurances – a fact that most optometrists are not aware of, Sherrol Reynolds, OD, FAAO, an associate professor at Nova Southeastern University and a clinical attending in the diabetes and macular clinic, said in an interview.
Genetic factors play a large role in AMD, with estimates on heritability ranging from 46% to 71%, according to research from Kandasamy.
“In 2013, 19 genomic loci associated with AMD risk were reported, four of which (CFH, CFI, C3 and C2/CFB) play integral roles in complement cascade regulation, leading to proinflammatory states in individuals at risk,” Kandasamy wrote…..
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Source: Healio