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Scientists work on possible test to predict wet AMD

In the United States, the most common cause of central vision loss is due to age-related macular degeneration with at least 11 million Americans being affected. Researchers, however, are looking to change that by using a cell search method which is used for automated rare cell analysis (ARCA) to identify and analyze endothelial progenitor cells (EPC). Patients with the wet form of macular degeneration have elevated EPCs compared to those who have the dry form. Fluroresence activated cell sorting (FACS) technology had been used in prior studies to detect the elevated level of EPCs but the FACS measurements had a high degree of variability. Scientists then compared FACS and ARCA in 23 study participants with AMD, both dry and wet. What they found was that the ARCA technology was better at detecting a higher number of EPCs in the wet form compared to the dry. What these study results suggest is that the ARCA technology could be utilized to monitor the progression of macular degeneration. Further studies are needed for validation of this test.

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