The growth of new blood vessels also called angiogenesis is important during development of an organism, however, this process is involved in certain diseases affecting the eye, and in cancers. Angiogenesis leading to disease is referred to as pathological angiogenesis. In the eye, pathological angiogenesis may occur in the cornea the outer most protective tissue of the eye leading to a disease called cornea neovascularization.
Today, there are no safe treatments for corneal neovascularization, and yet this condition may affect vision, and leads to corneal graft failure. Pathological angiogenesis in the retina the part of the eye responsible for image formation, and for color vision, is observed in conditions such as Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is currently thought to affect 50 million Europeans over the age of 30. The challenge, however, is that current treatments for AMD are expensive, and yet ineffective over time, leading to recurrence of the disease. Recurrence of the disease may further damage the cells of the retina, with the potential of permanent blindness.
This work therefore aims to improve our understanding of how pathological angiogenesis occurs in the eye, and to explain how the disease reoccurs once treatment is stropped. The goal is to contribute to efforts aimed at making better and more effective treatments against pathological angiogenesis.