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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 510285, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/510285
Review Article

Current Treatment Limitations in Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Future Approaches Based on Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering

1Ophthalmology Experimental Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, C/Irunlarrea 1, 31008 Pamplona, Spain
2Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Unit, CEIT and TECNUN (University of Navarra), Paseo de Manuel Lardizabal 15, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain
3Department of Ophthalmology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
4Department of Ophthalmology, Geneva University Hospitals, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Rue Alcide-Jentzer 22, 1211 Geneve 14, Switzerland
5Department of Functional Materials in Medicine and Dentistry, University of Würzburg, Pleicherwall 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
6Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Clinica Universidad de Navarra, Avenida Pio XII 36, 31008 Pamplona, Spain

Received 26 July 2013; Accepted 10 December 2013; Published 14 January 2014

Academic Editor: Edward Manche

Copyright © 2014 P. Fernández-Robredo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.