Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the commonest cause of visual loss in Europe, and is increasing with aging populations. To date, there is only treatment for the late ‘wet’ form of the disease. the much more common earlier, as well as late, ‘dry’ manifestations cannot be treated yet. Thus it is important to develop interventions for early forms of AMD.
One barrier to the development of new treatments is the lack of tests capable of determining the effectiveness of treatments under development. Put simply, current tests do not detect all of the sight problems experienced by people with earlier stages of the disease (e.g. intermediate AMD). Appropriate tools need to be developed to implement and analyze the efficacy of new interventions in clinical trials.
The goal of the MACUSTAR project is to develop and validate tests that are capable of accurately detecting subtle changes in the disease over time. The project will follow more than 700 AMD patients over 3 years through tests including state-of-the-art imaging techniques and vision testing, as well as patient-reported outcome measures that capture the impact of the disease on patients’ quality of life. The hope is that these methods will prove capable of detecting changes in the patients’ disease. The MACUSTAR team also hopes to shed new light on visual impairment in intermediate AMD and its progression, as well as the risk factors that cause the disease to progress faster in some patients than others. By developing and validating new methods to study disease progression in dry AMD, the overall goal of MACUSTAR is to help drug development and make clinical trials of potential treatments more efficient.
The MACUSTAR consortium is running a clinical trial which is currently recruiting people with AMD in all stages with a focus on the intermediate – i.e. middle – AMD stage. The 20 clinical sites are located in seven European countries: Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, The Netherlands and Denmark. If you would like to participate or know more about the project please visit www.macustar.eu or contact the clinical study coordinator at the site closest to you.