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UAB research receives attention among European ophthalmologists

Two research projects from the UAB AMD Histopathology Laboratory, directed by Christine A. Curcio, Ph.D., were presented this week at the Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, which is the German equivalent of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss among the elderly that is currently only treatable in one of its late stages. Our scientists are working to understand the early stages of AMD so this vision-stealing disease can be treated sooner.

Through microscopic studies of eye specimens with AMD our researchers can improve the interpretation of images of patients taken in clinic. This additional information about the early stages of AMD will help scientists design appropriate clinical trials for new treatments. It could also speed up FDA approval and adoption of new AMD medications because positive effects could be seen earlier in the disease.

The following research was presented:

  • Thomas Ach, M.D., M.S., presented new data on microscopic changes in autofluorescence, morphology, and cytoskeleton of retinal pigment epithelial cells in AMD, relevant to the interpretation of fundus autofluorescence, an important clinical imaging method for AMD diagnostics. This work was also recently presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (Orlando, May 2014). {Ach T, Messinger JD, Bentley MJ, Delori FC, Smith RT, Sloan KR, Curcio CA. Impact of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) on human retinal pigment epithelium autofluorescence (AF), cell number, and packing geometry. ARVO Meeting Abstracts. 2014;54:4532.}
  • Karen B. Schaal, M.D., a research fellow at Vitreous-Retina-Macula Consultants of New York presented a large collaborative study correlating the histology outer retinal tubulation, a formation of cone photoreceptors and Müller glia cells with advanced AMD, with its appearance in optical coherence tomography, a widely used clinical imaging method used in ophthalmic diagnostics. This work is important for understanding the neurodegeneration that underlies vision loss in AMD, and for how OCT signals are generated, thus improving OCT interpretation for many diseases. A manuscript has recently been accepted at the journal Retina. {Schaal KB, Freund KB, Litts KM, Zhang Y, Messinger JD, Curcio CA. Outer retinal tubulation in age-related macular degeneration: optical coherence tomographic findings correlate with histology.}

For more information about the imaging studies of the UAB AMD Histopathology Laboratory please visit Project Macula.

Source: UAB News