The genetics of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - Novel targets for designing treatment options?

Felix Grassmann, Sascha Fauser, Bernhard H.F. Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease of the central retina and the main cause of legal blindness in industrialized countries. Risk to develop the disease is conferred by both individual as well as genetic factors with the latter being increasingly deciphered over the last decade. Therapeutically, striking advances have been made for the treatment of the neovascular form of late stage AMD while for the late stage atrophic form of the disease, which accounts for almost half of the visually impaired, there is currently no effective therapy on the market. This review highlights our current knowledge on the genetic architecture of early and late stage AMD and explores its potential for the discovery of novel, target-guided treatment options. We reflect on current clinical and experimental therapies for all forms of AMD and specifically note a persisting lack of efficacy for treatment in atrophic AMD. We further explore the current insight in AMD-associated genes and pathways and critically question whether this knowledge is suited to design novel treatment options. Specifically, we point out that known genetic factors associated with AMD govern the risk to develop disease and thus may not play a role in its severity or progression. Treatments based on such knowledge appear appropriate rather for prevention than treatment of manifest disease. As a consequence, future research in AMD needs to be greatly focused on approaches relevant to the patients and their medical needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Issue numberPart B
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Clinical trials
  • Complement cascade
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Geographic atrophy
  • Neovascular AMD
  • Therapeutic approaches


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