Age related macular degeneration: IL-18 as a novel immunotherapy
The lecture will be held on Tuesday 03 September 2015 at 12:00 pm, in HMCSR Center, Amman, Jordan
Abstract: Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the western world. There are two main types of AMD, the “dry” form characterised by the presence of yellow deposits called drusen, in the macula and the "wet" form characterised by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid beneath the macula. The majority of people with AMD have the dry form of the disease and lose some form of central vision. Approximately 30% of patients are refractory to current therapies at the onset and over time and the majority of current treatments control the risk factors associated with the disease rather than the disease itself. The inflammatory cytokine IL-18 was discovered to be capable of regulating angiogenesis in the choroid in mice and that treatment with the cytokine could potentially be used as a therapy in patients suffering from late AMD.
My project involved analysis of the effects of IL-18 on the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in order to determine whether it affects the homeostatic functions of the RPE. Data obtained from the project showed that IL-18 appeared to have no negative effect on the RPE or any impairment in its immune function. The results imply that IL-18 would not have any detrimental effects on the outer blood retinal barrier function of the RPE if it were to be used as a novel therapy for AMD.