Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in the developed world for people aged 50+. AMD is a group of degenerative retinal diseases that impacts an estimated 15 million people in the United States and up to 50 million people worldwide. Within the United States over 250,000 people are diagnosed with advanced AMD each year.
Additionally, Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to asdiabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1), or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (Type 2). Long-term complications include Diabetic retinopathy (DR), an ocular manifestation of systemic disease which can eventually lead to blindness. Currently, DR is the leading cause of blindness due among working aged Americans.
We recognize a need for the development of a novel advance modeling system for in vitro experimentation to bridge the gap between AMD, DR research in animal models and its utility in human patient population. We propose tissue samples taken from patients can be used to create three-dimensional cell culture models. We propose such models can identify molecular mechanisms, as well as discover potential biomarkers and specific therapeutic targets.