Using Advanced Bioinformatics Tools to Identify Novel Therapeutic Candidates for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Urooba Nadeem, Bingqing Xie, Edward F. Xie, Mark D’souza, David Dao, Dinanath Sulakhe, Dimitra Skondra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of aging-related blindness in the developing world. Although medications can slow progressive wet AMD, currently, no drugs to treat dry-AMD are available. We use a systems or in silico biology analysis to identify chemicals and drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for other indications that can be used to treat and prevent AMD. Methods: We queried National Center for Biotechnology Information to identify genes associated with AMD, wet AMD, dry AMD, intermediate AMD, and geographic atrophy to date. We combined genes from various AMD subtypes to reflect distinct stages of disease. Enrichment analysis using the ToppGene platform predicted molecules that can influence AMD genes. Compounds without clinical indications or with deleterious effects were manually filtered. Results: We identified several drug/chemical classes that can affect multiple genes involved in AMD. The drugs predicted from this analysis include antidiabetics, lipid-lowering agents, and antioxidants, which could theoretically be repurposed for AMD. Metformin was identified as the drug with the strongest association with wet AMD genes and is among the top candidates in all dry AMD subtypes. Curcumin, statins, and antiox-idants are also among the top drugs correlating with AMD-risk genes. Conclusions: We use a systematic computational process to discover potential therapeutic targets for AMD. Our systematic and unbiased approach can be used to guide targeted preclinical/clinical studies for AMD and other ocular diseases. Translational Relevance: Advanced bioinformatics models identify novel chemicals and approved drug candidates that can be efficacious for different subtypes of AMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • age-related macular degeneration
  • bioinformatics
  • drug discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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