Current Treatment Limitations in Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Future Approaches Based on Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world. With an ageing population, it is anticipated that the number of AMD cases will increase dramatically, making a solution to this debilitating disease an urgent requirement for the socioeconomic future of the European Union and worldwide. The present paper reviews the limitations of the current therapies as well as the socioeconomic impact of the AMD. There is currently no cure available for AMD, and even palliative treatments are rare. Treatment options show several side effects, are of high cost, and only treat the consequence, not the cause of the pathology. For that reason, many options involving cell therapy mainly based on retinal and iris pigment epithelium cells as well as stem cells are being tested. Moreover, tissue engineering strategies to design and manufacture scaffolds to mimic Bruch's membrane are very diverse and under investigation. Both alternative therapies are aimed to prevent and/or cure AMD and are reviewed herein.