Just three years after the discovery of some of the genetic causes of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a Canadian company is less than one year away of bringing to market a simple test of saliva that can be done at your doctor's office.
The results, which arrive a week later in a 15-page analysis, can predict with uncanny accuracy the likelihood that you will develop AMD. ArticDx, of Toronto, Ontario, claims that more than two-thirds of all macular degeneration cases can be explained by the four genetic vulnerabilities that are tested. The results can not only help to discover who is at risk, but can also serve to guide with pinpoint accuracy which patients that already have macular degeneration are most likely to respond to nutritional supplementation for dry macular degeneration, injectable medications for wet macular degeneration, and future treatments. The question becomes, 'With such powerful tools now at our fingertips, do people really want to know what is in their future?'
In my interview of him last week, Greg Hines, President and CEO of ArticDx, stated a resounding, 'yes.' "Previous studies show that if given the choice, 95% of people want to know. But they only want to know if something can be done," he said. "And 90% want to know if they have passed on the gene to their children."
Greg is keenly aware of the emotional impact that his company's testing carries. That is why each report contains a genetic counseling component, and why doctors who administer the test will be required to learn how to speak to their patients about the results. For a full explanation of the Macula-Risk test and my interview with Greg, visit https://www.visivite.com/blogs/retina/macular-degeneration-genetics.