Inflammatory proteins in drusen not only indicate age-related macular degeneration, but fragments of these drusen components have been found to cause the late-stage condition. These components act as the trigger to induce the early dry form of AMD to progress to choroidal neovascularization, according to researchers in the department of ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky.

The result of this finding? Patients who have the early form of AMD could eventually have their drusen screened for the bioactive fragments, called C3a and C5a, and a substance could be created to block them, which would ultimately stop AMD in its tracks, the researchers say.

Nozaki M, Raisler BJ, Sakurai E, et al. Drusen complement components C3a and C5a promote choroidal neovascularization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006 Feb 14;103(7):2328-33.

Vol. No: 143:03Issue: 3/15/2006