AMD Requires Better Understanding of Disease Pathogenesis

by: Amanda Warren
An article focused on the current understanding of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and non-neovascular AMD (dry AMD) from Harvard Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology argued that in order to establish effective therapies for AMD, researchers need to better understand the processes underlying the development of the disease.
Lead author Joan Miller, MD, the current chair of Harvard Ophthalmology and a member of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Board of Trustees, stated that several factors associated with AMD remain elusive and suggested that there is an “overwhelming need” to establish a structured classification system for AMD, as well as an “unmet clinical need” for “truly understanding the pathogenesis of the disease,” which would aid in treatment developments.
Demetrios G. Vavvas, MD, PhD, co-director of Harvard Medical School’s Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute and an associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, also discussed the need for a standard classification system for both forms of AMD, stating that “it is important to standardize terminology because we are dealing with a complex, multifactorial, heterogeneous group of diseases.”
“If we are not clear on what all of us are discussing and we are not in agreement in what constitutes what, then our intellectual efforts are not going to be aligned and thus we are not going to have maximum progress in an efficient and timely manner,” Vavvas told MD Magazine.
This lack of consensus among clinicians may affect treatment of patients and progress of research on the disease, according to Miller, Vavvas, and colleagues.
The authors reported that a proposed classification scheme was suggested in 2013 by the Beckman Initiative for Macular Research Classification Committee, but it was based solely on fundus photography. Miller and Vavvas suggested that the lack of classification information based on other imaging modalities, of “the presence of subretinal drusenoid deposits,” and of attention to biological pathogenic processes makes the classification system less than ideal……
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Source: MD Magazine