VEGF and macular degeneration any link to rosacea ?

Written by on July 13, 2007 in research, VEGF with 2 Comments

It is not only rosacea that is interested in how VEGF affects blood vessels and thus how a disease that is related to blood vessels progresses. The `wet` type of macular degeneration is associated with the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Thus there may well be some common areas of research between rosacea and macular degeneration.

In macular degeneration the blood vessels supplying the macular leak and can lead to scarring that leaves the sufferer with only peripheral vision. Research into angiogenesis (how new blood vessels grow) and VEGF is trying treatments familiar to rosacea sufferers.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) was found to not be suitable for all lesions and required ongoing treatment.

Anti-VEGF drugs like Macugen (pegaptanib sodium injection) are also being studied. Macugen is injected into the vitreous fluid of the eye. The drug then prevents VEGF from binding to its receptor and aiding new blood vessel formation.

Other anti-VEGF drugs include Avastin, Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Retaane.

At a high level, angiogenesis appears to be a link between rosacea and several other conditions like cancer – where many cancers require a good blood supply to grow. Perhaps that are other links between rosacea and macular generation that might produce other useful discoveries.

Dr. Sandra Cremers MD is one who is exploring these links ;

My hypothesis is that rosacea is in part caused by new blood vessel growth, angiogenesis, which leads to inflammation and subsequent scar tissue in affected areas. Furthermore, I have hypothesized that patients with rosacea are more likely to get wet macula degeneration compared to patients who do not have rosacea (even when controlling for possible confounders such as sun exposure, family history, and smoking). Additionally, I believe that rosacea may be a marker for increased risk of other types of cancer in the rest of the body. It is possible that rosacea patients are prone to angiogenesis genetically, and thus facilitate the creation of a tumor?s surrounding blood supply.

Dr. Cremers was recently awarded a grant from the NRS ;

Dr. Sandra Cremers, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, was awarded $25,000 for a study evaluating the role of angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) in ocular rosacea. Dr. Cremers will investigate the levels of angiogenesis markers, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in the conjunctiva and eyelids of patients with severe ocular rosacea, compared with normal subjects. She postulates that defining the role of angiogenesis in the development of ocular rosacea may bring focus to future research on this common rosacea subtype, and eventually lead to the development of an effective treatment.

Lets hope that this line of research leads to a whole raft of new discoveries about what, if any, significance VEGF plays in the progression of rosacea.

Update: There is a brief mention of this topic over at the RRDi Forum: Preventing Blood Vessel Growth As Treatment. Dr. Cremers is also a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Rosacea Resarch and Development Institute. 

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Great article on a potential link between rosacea and
    macular degeneration:

    As you know, I’ve been very interested in studies suggesting a potential link between rosacea and C. pneumonia infection. The link between rosacea and macular degeneration might be important in that several studies have also potentially linked C. pneumoniae with macular degeneration as well:

    Of courseit has long been known that gram-negative bacterial endotoxins stimulate VEGF production, but still, maybe a link between rosacea and macular degeneration will help rosacea researchers take notice of the potential for link between these inflammatory diseases and C. pneumoniae infection.

    More info on the potential link between C. pneumoniae and rosacea can be found from the links on this previous news item:

  2. Blush face says:

    Thanks for the links, Dan.

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