The leading cause of blindness for people over 50
Geographic Atrophy is the advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of unpreventable blindness. No treatment exists and the condition progresses to legal blindness within a short time. The vast majority of cases occur after 60 years old. There are 1.5 to 2 million people in the US living with GA.
Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (dry-AMD) is the number one cause of unpreventable blindness in the world. There are more patients suffering from AMD than from other leading chronic diseases of aging such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined.
There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. Dry-AMD is the more common form, accounting for approximately 90% of cases, whereas wet-AMD accounts for 10%. Without treatment, both forms may eventually lead to partial or complete blindness. While various treatment options are available for wet-AMD, there are no treatments for dry AMD. Alkeus Pharmaceuticals’ lead compound ALK-001 is being investigated for the treatment of on dry-AMD.
Dry-AMD is a degenerative disease that causes loss of the RPE and photoreceptors in the retina. Not all dry-AMD patients experience visual symptoms, particularly in early stages.
AMD is graded in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late.
- Early-stage AMD is usually the stage at which patients are first diagnosed. Most patients have no serious visual disturbances and some may have some mild signs of visual discomfort or blurred vision. The majority of patients will remain at this early stage and never progress to the more serious forms. Additionally, it may take 5-10 years before patients progress to the intermediate stage.
- Intermediate AMD is experienced as small “gaps or holes” in vision, problems distinguishing colors, poor night vision, and wavy lines instead of straight lines. Patients may start losing some of their central vision while peripheral vision remains unaffected. Loss of central vision leads to limited ability to read, write, drive, or recognize faces. It is possible for one eye to progress slightly faster than the other.
- Late-stage AMD is the most serious form of the disease. It can take the form of wet, dry, or a combination of both. The late-stage form of dry-AMD, also called geographic atrophy (GA), is often characterized by incapacitated vision and legal blindness. These patients often have limited ability to read, write, watch a movie, see at night, recognize faces, drive and remain independent.
Alkeus Pharma is developing novel medicines to slow or stop the progression of dry-AMD.