Targeting a receptor pathway for the prevention of retinal fibrosis in neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Research details

  • Type of funding: Project Grant
  • Grant Holder: Professor Heping Xu
  • Institute: Queen’s University Belfast
  • Region: Northern Ireland
  • Start date: January 2018
  • End Date: July 2022
  • Priority: Causes
  • Eye Category: AMD


A significant number of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) patients develop retinal fibrosis (the development of vascular scar in the macula) leading to loss of vision. Currently, it is unknown how the macular scar is formed and why some people develop the scar and others do not.

Researchers aim to understand whether the development of fibrosis in nAMD can be prevented by targeting the C5aR pathway.

Researchers will be comparing the intraocular and plasma levels of complement proteins and other growth factors between patients with and without macular fibrosis to potentially uncover novel biomarker(s) that can predict the disease risk. If the pathway can be targeted for anti-fibrosis therapy, the biomarkers will help to identify patients suitable for the therapy.

The knowledge gained from this research is essential for developing C5a-targeted therapy and enable the development of methods to help the identification of patients who are at risk of developing macular fibrosis.