A group of CEDOC researchers from the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Lab, led by Miguel Seabra, belong to the team of the European project ERA Net "Biomembrane". The main objective of this international team is to design and fabricate an alternative and smart in vitro model to boost the discovery of new therapeutic strategies for age-related macular degeneration.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide: although it does not cause total blindness, there is a progressive loss of high-acuity vision attributable to degenerative and neovascular changes in the macula. Currently, there is neither a cure nor a strategy to prevent AMD. New discoveries, however, are beginning to provide a much clearer picture of the relevant cellular events and biochemical processes associated with early AMD and the ageing process in general.
The development of an in vitro model of retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) interfaced to choroidal vascular network (CVN) is expected to provide a more reliable device for the pharmaceutical testing and the evaluation of custom therapies for each patient.
The device, developed during the project, will have an important impact on health care costs as the new materials and the related in vitro models are expected to be more economic than the current testing system.
International team during the kick-off meeting of the project in Italy.
Press release in portuguese here.