Anti-RHOB Novel Treatments for Macular Degeneration and Other Retinopathies
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world. It strikes mostly people age 60 or older. AMD causes an irreversible destruction of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for vision, thereby leading to vision loss. LIMR technology specifically address the wet form of AMD caused by abnormal leaky blood vessels that overgrow the macula. Current treatments for wet AMD fail many patients, often later during treatment, defining a key medicinal gap.
LIMR researchers have defined new medicinal uses for two classes of drugs at different stages of development.
- First, oral drugs that inhibit the IDO1 enzyme, originally pioneered at LIMR in the 2000s for cancer treatment, have been discovered to block the abnormal growth of blood vessels that are known to cause macular degeneration.
- Second, a cell-permeable antibody developed at LIMR that targets the signaling protein RhoB was discovered to have therapeutic properties in the same setting, in this case as an injectable drug. US demographics will drive growth in the market for AMD treatments in coming years.
Currently, 11 million Americans suffer from AMD. According to the nonprofit organization BrightFocus Foundation, that number is expected to double by 2050. More dramatically, AMD cases worldwide are expected to grow from 196 million in 2020 to 288 million by 2040.1
Other possible applications for these LIMR technologies include treatment of diabetic retinopathy (DR), which can develop in anyone who has either type 1 or 2 diabetes, and is a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. The number of vision-threatening cases of DR worldwide is predicted to increase from 37.3 million in 2010 to 56.3 million by 2030.
Our technologies could also be used to treat other retinopathies, such as macular edema, diabetic macular edema, and myopic choroidal neovascularization.