Developing new anti-complement drugs for dry AMD

Female researcher in lab.jpeg

Dr Wioleta Zelek, Cardiff University - £120,000

This project is looking to find drugs that can stop the overactive cycle of inflammation, which leads to cell damage in dry AMD.

What is the problem?

It is recognised that the complement system and inflammation play a large role in the development of AMD. The complement system is a necessary part of the body’s natural defence against infection. However, in AMD this system can become overactive and create a cycle of inflammation, leading to cell damage.

What are they doing?

This project is looking at different aspects of the complement system to try to develop new treatments. In particular, they are trying to stop a part of the system called the membrane attack complex (MAC) which kills infected cells, by creating holes in the cell. These holes in the infected cell lead to leakage of the cell’s contents. This can, in some cases, lead to further inflammation and an over-activation of the MAC complex and may drive AMD progression.

How can this help?

This work will help assess whether drugs that may be able to stop MAC formation can stop or slow AMD progression. Researchers will also test these drugs to see whether they can be given without the need for injections into the eye.