New Method to Screen for Drugs to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Case ID:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a loss of central vision that occurs in either dry, atrophic or wet, exudative forms. Most people with macular degeneration have the atrophic form. While there is no specific treatment for atrophic AMD, studies have shown a potential benefit from vitamin supplements, a healthy diet, cessation of smoking, and perhaps intraocular injections. The current invention would allow for new modalities and medications to be innovated to assist in treating the disease more effectively.


The technology is a method of screening drugs for application to treating age-related macular degeneration (MD) by culturing retinal pigment epithelium cells (RPE) and subsequently measuring the level of exosome release from the RPE cells. Utilizing this method, the level of exosome release can be correlated with AMD onset and severity. Thus, if a drug can reduce exosome release in RPE assays, then it would be a good candidate for drug development to mitigate AMD symptoms.



According to data from the American Optometrist Association, “Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50.” More than 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Additionally, the number of older Americans is projected to nearly double from 48 million to 88 million by 2050 thus extending the diseases prevalence and the population’s treatment needs.



  • Method for testing drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration



  • More targeted treatment of the causal mechanisms for AMD
  • Promotes the research and development of new AMD treatments
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Mitch Graffeo
Sr. Licensing Manager - COM-T
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Brian Mckay
Anna Figueroa
Nicole Congrove