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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Offers New Insight into Leading Cause of Blindness

An international study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has identified the number of genetic factors known to play a role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the worldwide leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

The International AMD Genomic Consortium — composed of 26 centers worldwide, including SPH and MED — collected and analyzed genetic data from more than 43,000 people to identify variations in genes associated with AMD. They found the number of loci (discrete genetic regions) involved in the development of AMD has expanded from 21 to 34, with a total of 52 variants discovered.

The findings appear in the journal Nature Genetics. Dr. Lindsay Farrer, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at BUSPH, was a co-leader of the study.

“This new discovery is critical to furthering advances in AMD research and development of new therapeutics, as the variants associated with AMD risk and the genes that contain them are potential targets for novel drugs,” said Dr. Farrer. ”It is likely that the large number of genes implicated in our study collectively have roles in multiple pathways.

To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2016/01/04/new-insight-into-leading-cause-of-blindness/