Advancing our understanding of AMD
Roche has joined with top medical centres across Europe to set up a consortium to further study age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60. AMD results from damage to the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision and seeing fine details clearly.
Named EYE-RISK, the consortium will explore the combined role of genetic and non-genetic factors in the development of AMD. The EYE-RISK consortium is headed by Prof. Marius Ueffing of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research, University of Tübingen, Germany and is funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 Framework program, the largest research and innovation programme of its kind with nearly 80 billion Euros of funding available overall.
The consortium will utilize comprehensive epidemiologic data and bio-samples from large European epidemiologic eye cohorts and biobanks to develop tools to help the clinical prediction of AMD. The EYE-RISK consortium also aims to characterize risk factors for AMD in patients and identify disease mechanisms at the molecular level. The key objectives of the consortium will be to determine AMD frequency in Europe and assess AMD risk for phenotypical, genetic, environmental and biochemical risk factors and their interactions.
Identifying who is at risk
“This research will advance our understanding of who is at risk of developing AMD, who is at risk for progression, why and how risks combine to advance progression in certain patients and what we can do to lower their risk. Our role in this initiative will be to work closely with the consortium members to exchange data and information and perform in-house research and data analysis that leads to key deliverables such as the identification and prioritization of promising pathways and genes for future drug development,” explains Everson Nogoceke, Biomarker Experimental Medicine Leader, Roche Pharma Research & Early Development, and facilitator of the EYE-RISK initiative.
The EYE-RISK program is split into eight work packages which are linked to supporting and delivering specific objectives. The consortium members will be assigned to support specific work packages according to their experience and skill. Roche will not receive any public funding for its participation in the EYE-RISK consortium and will support the initiative through “in-kind” and additional financial contributions.