Fight for Sight grant award

Tuesday 16 June 2015

A research grant of £110,951 has been awarded to Dr Alan Stewart and Dr Imre Lengyel (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) from Fight for Sight to carry out a new 2-year study into a major cause of blindness that affects older adults (>50 years).


A characteristic feature of the ageing retina is the thickening of Bruch’s membrane and the formation of sub-retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) deposits that in some cases block metabolic exchange between the choroidal blood circulation and the retina.  This can lead to sensory retinal degeneration and eventually to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


Recently, Thompson et al. reported the existence of small (0.5-20 μm diameter) protein-binding hydroxyapatite (HAP) spherules within sub-RPE deposits isolated from AMD-affected individuals (see link).  This suggests that the spherules may provide nucleation sites for sub-RPE deposit formation, where the initiation, growth and retention of deposits are controlled by the binding of proteins present in the sub-RPE space to the spherules. In the funded study, HAP-binding proteins in the plasma of genotyped late-stage AMD patients will be isolated, quantitatively identified and biochemically characterised.

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