ARRA: CCR3: A molecular maker for neovascular AMD

  • Ambati, Jayakrishna (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects as many Americans as all cancers combined and twice as many as Alzheimer's disease. The overwhelming cause of severe vision loss in AMD is choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the growth of abnormal blood vessels into the retina. Despite the use of recently approved molecular therapeutics targeting vascular endothehal growth factor (VEGF)-A, the majority of patients do not recover good, functional vision, and a significant fraction progress to legal blindness. This is due to the present inability to detect CNV before it invades the retina and causes structural and functional tissue damage. In new and exciting findings, we are reporting the discovery of the first molecular marker that is specific for human CNV (Takeda et al. Nature 2009): CCR3, a chemokine receptor best known for promoting eosinophil and mast cell trafficking, is expressed in human choroidal endothelial cells in viva only in the selling of CNV due to AMD. Targeting CCR3 or its eotaxin ligands inhibited angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, and was both superior to and safer than VEGF-A blockade. Non-invasive in viva bioimaging using functionalized quantum dots targeting CCR3 detected CNN within the mouse choroid that had not yet invaded the retina and was invisible to fluorescein angiography. These findings define CCR3 as a novel specific molecular early diagnostic and therapeutic target in human CNV. In this proposal, we will define the biological relationships between the CCR3/eotaxin axis and aging, complement activation, and oxidative stress to decipher how these established AMD pathogenetic factors regulate the neovascular progression of disease. We will also create and optimize new fluorescent optical bioimaging CCR3-targeting probes that can detect intrachoroidal, `subclinical" CNV. These studies respond precisely to this Challenge Topic as they will illuminate how the immune system regulates this specific signature of the angiogenic switch in AMD, and innovatively exploit it to enable prevention of vision loss by coupling early detection with targeted therapy. As such, this proposal is perfectly aligned with the 5-year program goals of the NEI's Retinal Diseases strategic plan. It also advances the goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as it will, if funded, create or retain jobs for three individuals, and provide economic benefits to third- party suppliers and vendors. We are committed to complete the program by the determined October 2010 deadline, and are willing to complete quarterly reports pertaining to this project as outlined by NIH.
Effective start/end date9/30/099/29/12


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.