Macular degeneration is an eye disorder by a number of conditions negatively affecting the macula. The macula is also as the ‘yellow spot’ a miniscule; specialized region of the retina containing photoreceptor cells (cone cells); responsible for central sight in conditions of bright lighting in order to distinguish fine detail and color.

Flanking the central macula is the peripheral macula which is composed of other photoreceptor cells (rod cells); responsible for sight in dim lighting outside the main line of sight. The initial results from an artificial intelligence project show a number of existing drugs; have the potential to reduce sight loss from age-related macular degeneration; the leading cause of sight loss.

Therefore the action Against AMD, a research collaboration formed by four UK sight loss charities partnered with artificial intelligence; company BenevolentAI  to carry out the research. Therefor benevolentAI used its ‘Benevolent Platform’ to comprehensively review and understand the millions of scientific papers, clinical trials information; additional datasets relating to age-related macular degeneration with a view to identifying potential gene targets and treatments.

Analysis identified new gene

The research identified seven existing drugs either already in development or used to treat other conditions that have the potential to repurposed to treat macular degeneration. In addition the analysis identified new gene targets for investigation.
Action Against AMD will now taking the insight from the project to identify which drugs and gene targets are a priority for further investigation. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); is the leading cause of sight loss and can result in complete loss of central vision, with an estimated prevalence of 196 million people worldwide.

New blood vessel growth

There are currently no approved treatments for the 95% of patients with early and ‘dry AMD’; although there are treatments for the 5% of patients with ‘wet AMD’ by new blood vessel growth  if caught early enough.  It’s really promising that we have identified current drugs that may have a positive effect on macular degeneration.
The next step will to confirm which of these drugs have the potential to slow progression of the disease and reduce sight loss for people with this condition.”  It has been a very productive partnership with Action Against AMD and they are to have contributed some promising new research in age-related macular degeneration.
They very much look forward to seeing the results of this research as it is developed further by Action Against AMD.” The Macular Society, one of the four founders of Action Against AMD; through their donors the Clothworkers’ Foundation and another anonymous donor; helped to fund the collaboration with BenevolentAI.