RetnaGene™ AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration)
A laboratory-developed genetic test that evaluates the risk of a patient with early or intermediate AMD progressing to advanced choroidal neovascular disease within 2, 5, and 10 years
AMD is an insidious progressive eye disorder that starts with relatively harmless tiny yellow deposits on the retina (the light sensitive tissue in the eye) and increases in prevalence and severity with age. Neovascular or 'wet AMD', develops in 10 to 20% of all cases, causes profound loss of central vision and is the leading source of legal blindness in people over age 50 in the developed world. It is caused by abnormal growth of fragile and leaky blood vessels (choroidal neovascularization or 'CNV') in the macula (a small area where vision is keenest at the center of the retina) in response to chronic inflammatory stress.
A predictive test that identifies patients at higher than average risk to develop wet AMD has the potential to improve clinical management by transforming surveillance protocols and improve therapeutic decision-making. A patient's knowledge about being at higher risk also makes it easier to take certain preventative steps such as no longer smoking, and switching to a healthier diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, certain carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids. Smoking and diet are reported to be among the most important modifiable risk factors associated with AMD.
Incidence of AMD
AMD is the most common cause of visual impairment and the leading cause of blindness in the elderly population in the developed world, the prevalence of which increases with advancing age. It is estimated that there are currently 9.1 million patients in the USA with AMD, 1.7 million suffering with the vision-threatening late stage complications of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) or geographic atrophy. Moreover, it is predicted that the number of cases of early AMD will increase to 17.8 million by 2050 and if untreated, cases of late-stage blinding AMD will increase to 3.8 million.