Dr. Jordi Monés: “Through the impact on the microbiota it is possible to influence the progression of AMD”
- This test is being done with one of the products of the biotechnological laboratory Igen Biolab Group.
- “If this clinical study shows positive results, and subsequent multi-center trials confirm it, it would represent a huge global advance in the treatment of a disease that causes blindness and is currently incurable.
- Patients are still being accepted to enter this study.
Madrid, June 14, 2022.- Dr. Jordi Monés, specialist and director of the Macula Institute and the Barcelona Macula Foundation, is the principal investigator of a pilot study that is being carried out with one of the biotechnological laboratory’s products Igen Biolab Group to evaluate the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the response to postbiotic supplementation in patients with this pathology. “In this pilot clinical trial, the ‘REVERS Study’, we seek proof of concept that through the impact on the microbiota, and its role in the epigenome, it is possible to influence the progression of high-risk intermediate forms of degeneration. macular disease associated with age (AMD), and in this way stop its progression to more advanced phases, which have a devastating impact on the vision of patients”, says Dr. Monés. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in people over 50 years of age in developed countries. “AMD is a true growing epidemic, with around 20% of people aged 85 suffering from it. Currently, it affects 8.7% of the world population, with an estimate of 196 million in 2020, increasing to 288 million in 2040”, emphasizes the researcher.
The modulation of the microbiota, key to stopping it
“It has been well known for a long time that AMD is the result of a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. But it is not known how environmental factors influence the disease. In AMD, epigenetics may represent the mechanism through which environmental modulators may cause certain pathological genes to be more expressed, and thus play a crucial role in determining the appearance, pathways, severity and speed of progression” , says the expert.
In this regard, he reports that, over the last decade, the microbiome has been discovered “to be one of the most important drivers of epigenetic modulation.” The composition and function of the microbiota has been associated with both physiological conditions and innate and adaptive immunity, as well as pathological processes such as Crohn’s disease, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases and autism. “Regarding AMD, some bacterial species of the microbiota are increased in fecal samples from AMD patients compared to healthy controls, and some experimental models have suggested that high-fat diet-induced dysbiosis could contribute to the neovascular response of AMD. Exudative AMD”, concludes Dr. Monés.
“The most conservative therapeutic approaches are prebiotics (foods and products that promote the growth of bacteria), probiotics (live bacteria) or a combination of both. However, the possibilities of adverse effects are not negligible, especially in sick, immunocompromised or elderly patients, in addition to the limitations to control the desired effect or the survival of the species administered”, says Dr. Monés.
A pioneering study
In the words of Dr. Monés, there have been many clinical trials that have tried to stop atrophy “but they have failed since, once it starts, it is very difficult to reverse it due to the inertia of local toxic degenerative processes at the cellular level.” That is why it would be so important to prevent or stop its appearance.
And, in this context, he underlines the importance of this study since “today there are hardly any clinical trials throughout the world that try to address the disease in this high-risk intermediate stage of the disease, so nothing can be offered these patients to try to stop its progression”.
“Our study is a worldwide pioneer, and a great opportunity for these patients, because, on the one hand, we have a therapy (postbiotics) and, on the other hand, in collaboration with City University of London researchers, we have introduced functional tests that are very sophisticated computerized techniques that are different from the conventional ones that allow us to detect minimal changes in the vision of cones and rods, color vision, contrast sensitivity or microperimetry within a period of 1 and 2 years”, assures the specialist.
And he concludes: “If this clinical study shows positive results, and subsequent multicenter trials confirm it, we represent
About Igen Biolab Group
Igen Biolab is a biotechnological laboratory based in Switzerland, which has its main R&D laboratory in Spain. The company is focused on studying the impact of the microbiota in the prevention and treatment of various metabolic, autoimmune or degenerative diseases. The company has recently been qualified with the Seal of Excellence of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union.
Rosana Ribera de Gracia