Development of high-performance 3D retina OCTA and development and efficacy verification of new age-related macular degeneration medicine based thereon
The macular is an important part that accounts for over 90% of the human visual function, which includes abilities to recognize objects and distinguish colors. It is thus very closely and directly related to one's vision. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness for people over 50 years of age. It is characterized by the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) from the choroid in the outer retina where there would otherwise be no blood vessels if the retina were in good shape. The choroid area under the affected part ends up losing blood vessels. Currently, the disease is treated by injecting a medicine that serves to remove CNV. However, it is difficult to recover the affected part that has lost blood vessels of the choroid, which supplies blood to the retina, and thus these expensive injections must be repeated every few months. Still, in many cases, patients end up going blind in several years. In the present study, to overcome these challenges, a new medicine that not only reduces CNV but also helps recover choroid blood vessels was developed, and its efficacy was verified using high-performance 3D OCT Angiography (OCTA) developed herein.
OCT Angiography (OCTA) system with high spatial and temporal resolution
A research team led by Prof. Oh, Wang-Yuhl verified the efficacy of a new macular degeneration medicine using the recently developed high spatial and temporal resolution OCT Angiography (OCTA) system, as well as imaging techniques. Thus far, macular degeneration has been treated by injecting a medicine that removes CNV directly from the eye once every few months. However, it was found that many treated patients ended up going blind in several years. Macular degeneration is characterized by the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) from the choroid in the outer retina, where there would otherwise be no blood vessels if the retina were in good shape. The choroid area under the affected part ends up losing blood vessels. Existing medicines were found to remove CNV but failed to recover the affected part that had lost blood vessels of the choroid, which supplies blood to the retina. The newly developed age-related macular degeneration treatment is a medicine that helps recover the affected part of the choroid that has lost blood vessels. In the past, the efficacy of such medicines was verified by examining the enucleated eyes of animal disease model. However, this method involves large amounts of time and cost, and suffers from inevitable inter-animal variation.
The OCTA has been used in clinics, but the application of this improved OCTA system in terms of speed and performance, combined with various imaging techniques, enables researchers to steadily observe the three-dimensional retinal and choroidal micro-vasculature of the same test animal over time. One of the key aspects of the present study was that this approach helped save the time and cost needed to accurately verify the efficacy of such medicines. The newly developed medicine will provide a new solution to the treatment of macular degeneration, while the newly developed high-performance 3D OCTA system is expected to make an important contribution to greatly reducing the time, effort, and cost needed for the development and efficacy verification of relevant medicines.
Prof. Oh, Wang Yuhl
2019 KI Annual Report