One of the main aims of the EYE-RISK project was to identify key molecular drivers and biological pathways for the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Given the complexity of AMD, information like this is critical to understand the disease process fully and for the development of new intervention strategies.
Dietary intake of zinc, included in the nutritional supplements AREDS and AREDS2, has shown promise in delaying the progression of AMD. In their recent open-access publication in Nutrients, Emri et al. analyzed the potential molecular mechanisms and identified specific regulatory pathways that might be involved in mediating the positive effects of long‐term zinc supplementation in AMD.
The EYE-RISK project investigates the interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors, that increase a person’s risk for AMD. In a study recently published in Scientific Reports Armento et al. analyzed the impact of one of the main genetic AMD risk variants, the Y402H polymorphism in the complement factor H gene (CFH). The EYE-RISK researchers could show for the first time, that factor H (FH) produced by retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells is essential for RPE cell metabolism and homeostasis and protects RPE cells from oxidative stress. Their results highlight a novel role for FH in AMD pathogenesis and indicate, that RPE cells within the retina might be perturbed by the CFH risk variant, especially when the genetic risk is accompanied by increased oxidative stress, which occurs naturally with age and from smoking or unhealthy diet. Possible mechanisms and their impact within the retina will be investigated in more detail in further studies.
Press Release from 05.08.2019 by PRO RETINA Deutschland e.V.
Berlin – A timely lifestyle change can protect people at high risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) against vision loss into advanced age. This is a key interim result of the European research project EYE-RISK. Who is particularly at risk, how the individual risk profile is determined and which three lifestyle factors are decisive in the prevention, experts explained at today's press conference held by PRO RETINA Germany e.V.
Read the full press release by the Pro Retina (in German only)
In a recently published study in Ophthalmologythe researchers of the E3 and EYE-RISK consortium find evidence that circulating HDL-cholesterol is associated with increased risk of AMD and negatively associated with triglycerides. Just in the opposite way of the cardiovascular risk profile.
Our objective was to study circulating lipid levels in a large European dataset and investigated if this relationship is driven by certain sub fractions. We included 30,953 individuals aged 50+ participating in the E3 consortium; and 1530 individuals from the Rotterdam Study with lipid sub fraction data.
HDL was associated with an increased risk of AMD, corrected for potential confounders (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.21 per 1mmol/L increase (95% confidence interval[CI] 1.14-1.29); while triglycerides were associated with a decreased risk (OR 0.94 per 1mmol/L increase [95%CI 0.91-0.97]). Both were associated with drusen size, higher HDL raises the odds of larger drusen while higher triglycerides decreases the odds. The concentration of extra-large HDL particles showed the most prominent association with AMD (OR 1.24 [95%CI 1.10-1.40]) Extra-large HDL sub fractions seem to be drivers in the relation with AMD. Whether systemic lipids directly influence AMD or represent lipid metabolism in the retina remains a question to be answered.
The final EYE-RISK consortium meeting has been held at ERASMUS Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on February 14th – 15th, 2019.
The consortium members presented and discussed their latest results in AMD research in the fields of epidemiology and risk prediction, molecular phenotyping and biomarkers, models, pathways and drivers, as well as clinical translation and reachout.
Researchers planned their final steps towards the completion of the EYE-RISK project, including joint publications of the major research achievements. The established risk-prediction tool will be further developed and made available online. By calculating an individual person’s risk for late AMD, it may help people at high risk to change their lifestyle and to prevent blindness through late AMD in the future.
Invited speaker Prof. Dr. Monique J. Roobol from ERASMUS University medical center shared her experience with the development of a risk prediction website in her talk: “The road towards the Prostate Cancer prediction website.” She gave comprehensive insights into her work, which was valuable for further steps towards an AMD risk prediction website.
Another important topic at the meeting were future research collaborations and funding possibilities to continue the work beyond the time span of EYE-RISK and to further investigate AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness in developed countries.
The EURETINA Congress, organized by the European Society of Retina Specialists (EURETINA) took place from 20th September to 23rd September 2018 at the Reed Messe Wien in Vienna, Austria. The conference covered areas like Vitreoretinal Surgery, Imaging, Uveitis/Inflammation, Diabetes and Retinal Vascular Disease.
The identification of the genetic and non-genetic determinants of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) formed the centrepiece of the annual meeting of the EYE-RISK project held in Belfast (Northern Ireland) on 13-14 September 2018. The meeting’s aim was to share the progress in the various studies conducted by the researchers over recent months.
Special Session at the The XXIII Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research (ISER) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, on September 13, 15:30 – 17:30.
EYE-RISK researchers will present their work in a special session chaired by Imre Lengyel, Belfast. Topics include contributions from Anneke den Hollander, Netherlands, on “Serum Biomarkers for Age-related Macular Degeneration” and Cécile Delcourt, France, “Towards Personalized Prediction of AMD”. Registration for the meeting is open until August 2.
More information: www.iserbiennialmeeting2018.org/
Disease characteristics of patients with age-related macular degeneration carrying a rare variant in the CFH gene
One of the goals of the EYE-RISK project is to determine whether patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be stratified into different risk groups using information on molecular drivers of their disease. In a recent study, EYE-RISK researchers studied the disease characteristics of AMD patients carrying rare variants in the CFH gene.
The European EYE-RISK consortium has examined the relationship between lipids and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, the journal with the greatest impact in ophthalmology.
The study's title is "A new perspective on lipid research in age-related macular degeneration."
The European EYE-RISK consortium together with the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) consortium has recently published an article on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the prestigious journal Ophthalmology entitled:
“Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Europe”
International top experts discussed current developments in neurosensory research, joining forces to integrate vision and hearing research.
A variety of therapeutic approaches demonstrated the scientific progress on the way “from bench to bedside”. The international symposium was organized by the Centre for Neurosensory Systems at the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany.
13th PRO RETINA Research Colloquium Potsdam organized by EYE-RISK Partner PRO RETINA Germany
The meeting will be held in Potsdam from April 13 to 14, 2018. Over two days researchers will address recent advances in the field of retinal diseases. A special focus will lie on retinal pigment epithelium as a potential target for treatment in retinal degenerations, gene therapy approaches for retinal dystrophies and the present state of knowledge in disease causes and treatment designs of early and late stage AMD. These topics will be presented by national and international experts in the field and will provide a basis for vivid scientific exchanges.
More information: www.potsdam-meeting.de
The 6th EYE-RISK consortium meeting, hosted by beneficiary 2, EMC, has been held at ERASMUS Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on November 23rd – 24th, 2017.
Work Package leaders and researchers presented their latest research results and discussed future strategies as well as collaborations and joint publications.
Invited speaker Monique T. Mulder, Head of the Laboratory of Vascular Medicine at Erasmus MC, gave a comprehensive overview on lipid metabolism with special emphasis on lipoproteins in retinal cells, which may play an important role in the pathogenesis of AMD, currently investigated by the EYE-RISK consortium.
The BJO publishes a new classification of geographic atrophy subtypes identified by BMF researchers
The British Journal of Ophthalmology (BJO) has disseminated the BMF's clinical study as part of the EYE-RISK European project to identify ocular phenotypes in patients with geographic atrophy (GA).
In the study Drusen ooze: A novel Hypothesis in Geographic Atrophy, recently published in the scientific journal Ophthalmology Retina, Dr. Jordi Monés, MD PhD, Director of the Institut de la Màcula and Medical Director of the Barcelona Macula Foundation, together with Míriam Garcia, MSc, Dr. Marc Biarnés, PhD, Dr. Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, and Dra. Lucía Ferraro, MD, describe new findings related to drusen and propose a mechanism of progression to geographic atrophy (GA) in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This discovery was made during research work undertaken during the EYE-RISK project.
A Young Researcher Vision Camp was held in a remote medieval castle situated in Leibertingen, Germany from June 30th until July 2nd, 2017. Two 1-hour sessions of the Vision Camp 2017 were dedicated to the EYE-RISK project.
Members of the EYE-RISK Project organized a Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which was held from May 7th – 11th in Baltimore (USA).
ARVO is the largest vision research conference in the world, with more then 12.000 members. The goal of the SIG meeting, entitled “Predictive testing for age-related macular degeneration: are we there yet?” was to discuss whether genetic testing should be offered for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of vision loss in the elderly.
The SIG meeting was organised by EYE-RISK members Anneke den Hollander and Caroline Klaver, and other EYE-RISK members participated in the panel discussion, including Cecile Delcourt, Jordi Mones and Carel Hoyng. In addition, Johanna Seddon (Tufts University, Boston) and Emily Chew (NEI, Bethesda and ARVO president as well as member of EYE-RISK's Scientific Advosory Board) participated in the discussion.
The panellists reviewed the latest developments in the research into AMD, from genetic tests to the use of predictive models for the identification of individuals at high risk of suffering from the disease. During a panel discussion the session’s approximately 300 attendees were given the chance to interact actively with the panellists by responding to propositions put up for discussion.
The overall conclusion of the SIG meeting was that genetic testing for AMD will become important once treatments for AMD are developed, particularly if the genotype would be an important indicator for success of the treatment. Genetic testing could also help to motivate high-risk individuals to change their lifestyle, to reduce their risk for end-stage AMD. However, in general the audience felt that genetic testing might have negative consequences for individuals, particularly if the genetic test is not accurate, or when obtaining a life insurance or mortgage.
A Young Researcher Vision Camp will be held in a remote medieval castle situated in Leibertingen, Germany from June 30th until July 2nd, 2017. Two 1-hour sessions of the Vision Camp 2017 will be dedicated to the EYE-RISK project.
EYE-RISK session I:
Chair: Anneke den Hollander (beneficiary 4, RUMC)
- Annemarie Colijn, young researcher of beneficiary 2, EMC
- Eveline Kersten, young researcher of beneficiary 4, RUMC
- Soufiane Ajana, young researcher of beneficiary 5, UB
EYE-RISK session II:
Chair: Berta de la Cerda Haynes (beneficiary 12, FPS)
- Sofia Calado, young researcher of beneficiary 12, FPS
- Fran Pool, young researcher of beneficiary 6, UCL
- Eduardo Rodriguez, young researcher of beneficiary 7, BMF
- Ana Belén Garcia Delgado, young researcher of beneficiary 12, FPS
More information can be found on the website http://www.vision-research.eu/index.php?id=464
The aim of the Young Researcher Vision Camp is to provide young academics from ophthalmology and vision research with an innovative possibility to present themselves and their work to fellow researchers and to allow them to build and strengthen personal scientific networks in an international environment. The Vision Camp differs from ‘traditional conferences’ by its venue (remote medieval castle) and by combining the scientific demand (talks and/or posters presented by doctoral or early postdoctoral students) with networking opportunities (morning exercises, open-air barbecue, excursion to the ‘Campus Galli’, evening tour with wild life ranger in the Valley Danube).
The EYE-RISK consortium will host a Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting at ARVO 2017, the Annual Meeting 2017 of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
|Date:||Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 1:00 - 2.30 p.m.|
|Topic:||Predictive testing for age-related macular degeneration (AMD): are we there yet?|
|Speakers:||Cecile DelCourt, Jordi Mones, Emily Chew, Johanna Seddon and Carel Hoyng|
Prediction models based on combinations of risk factors have been proposed to identify persons at high risk of AMD.
How can predictive models for AMD be further improved, and what are the benefits and risks of offering predictive tests for AMD?
More information on the website https://www.arvo.org/AM/SIG/
The 5th EYE-RISK consortium meeting, hosted by beneficiary 1, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (EKUT), has been held in Tübingen, Germany, on February 16th – 17th, 2017.
Members of the different partner institutions gathered at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research, headed by Prof. Marius Ueffing, the coordinator of the EYE-RISK project. With the assistance of the Work Package leaders they examined the state of the project, shared the recent developments generated by all the members and programmed the work to be undertaken over the coming months.
One of the Meeting’s new features was the creation of various discussion sub-groups to highlight specific topics that are of prime importance to EYE-RISK and then to integrate the information obtained from each into the project. The choice of cellular and animal models, the analysis of biomarkers and lipids, statistical models and the correct interpretation of images were the principal topics for these sessions.
The EYE-RISK members visited the lab space and facilities of the new research building in a guided tour led by Prof. Ueffing. The research center forms part of Tübingen’s biomedical and neuroscientific campus and fosters the creativity to generate innovative ideas, their transfer to reality and their translation into the diagnosis and therapy that helps those who suffer vision loss.
EYE-RISK researchers from several Project Partners met in Bordeaux on January 19th- 20th 2017 to discuss results and further work plans investigating the influence of lipid metabolism on AMD.
The 4th EYE-RISK consortium meeting, hosted by beneficiary 3, CRG, was successfully held in Barcelona, Spain on October 25th - 27th, 2016.
Work package leaders and scientists from the different EYE-RISK partner organizations discussed the project’s progress together with Scientific Officer Dr. Dora Navarro Torné (European Commision), and Scientific Advisory Board members Prof. Hendrik Scholl (Professor for Ophthalmology, Head of Eye Clinic, Universitätsspital Basel, Basel, Switzerland), Prof. Brian Mansfield (Deputy Chief Research Officer at Foundation Fighting Blindness, Baltimore, USA) and Christina Fasser (President of Retina International, Zurich, Switzerland). Goals of the meeting were to evaluate the development of the project during the first 18 months and to plan publications and tasks for months 19 to 30 of the project.
To give an overview to the field, Hendrik Scholl and Brian Mansfield presented in their lectures the current state of AMD research, while Christina Fasser added the viewpoint of the patient’s association. Meeting sessions were dedicated to presentations of the different work packages and discussion of the upcoming challenges and tasks. Specific topics and collaborations were addressed in several working groups.
On September 6th and 7th, 2016 B·Debate (an initiative of Biocat and "la Caixa" Foundation to promote the scientific debate) and Barcelona Macula Foundation, in collaboration with the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and LEITAT Foundation, gathered together international experts to explore the potential of new therapeutic approaches to combat retinal dystrophies. The debate was held at CaixaForum Barcelona.
During the debate basic and translational researchers, leaders and experts shared their knowledge and innovations in the field. Seven members of the EYE-RISK consortium participated and presented their work.
More information on the website www.bdebate.org/en/forum/fighting-blindness-future-challenges-and-opportunities-visual-restoration
The 3rd EYE-RISK consortium meeting was successfully held on May 5th & 6th, 2016 in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology (ARVO 2016).
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to year 1 progress reports, provided and discussed per work package; on the second day the continuation of WP 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 as well as the initiation of WP 4 and 7 was planned.
On February 12th, 2016 a work package 6 subgroup meeting was held in Tübingen, Germany. During this meeting the implementation of the tasks foreseen in WP 6 were discussed.
The 2nd EYE-RISK meeting was successfully held in Costa d'en Blanes-Calvià, Mallorca, Spain from October 15th to 17th, 2015.
Date: Oct 15, 16 & 17, 2015
Venue: H10 Hotel Punta Negra | Costa d'en Blanes-Calvià | Mallorca | Spain
Address: C/ Punta Negra, 12, 07181-Costa d'en Blanes-Mallorca, SPAIN
Directions: flight to Palma de Mallorca airport, then taxi to hotel, 25 km distance, approx. 28 €
Start: Oct 15, 11:00
End: Oct 17, 14:00
- WP1-6 data generation
- WP2 data integration
- WP3 biomarkers
- WP3 metabolomics
- Integration of WP4 stratified risk prediction and WP7 clinical validation
The EYE-RISK kick-off meeting, hosted by UCL & MEH, was successfully held in London, UK on June 23rd and 24th, 2015.