Alpha MSH in Ocular Disease


The purpose of this study is gain a better understanding of a molecule called alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha MSH) and its potential role in your retinal disease. Alpha MSH has been shown to have an important role in the regulation of ocular immunity in animal models of inflammatory retinal diseases and retinal dystrophies, and there may be a protective effect of alpha MSH. By studying the levels of alpha MSH in your eye we may better understand its role in advanced dry macular degeneration. By studying the levels of this molecule we hope to better understand if it may be a good target for future treatment.

Full Title of Study: “The Role of Alpha Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone in Ocular Disease”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: N/A
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 30, 2021

Detailed Description

A small amount (0.1 mL) of aqueous humor would be removed from the study eye in the clinic setting. This sample will be processed and then sent off for measurement of alpha MSH levels.


  • Device: Alpha MSH assay
    • Assay to detect levels of alpha MSH in intraocular fluid.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Other: Advanced Dry macular degeneration

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Level of alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
    • Time Frame: 2 hours

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • 60 years or older – diagnosis of advanced dry macular degeneration with foveal geographic atrophy – limited vision or blindness (20/100 or worse) in that eye – pseudophakia (prior cataract surgery in that eye) Exclusion Criteria:

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 60 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Duke University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Sharon Fekrat, MD, Principal Investigator, Duke Eye Center
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Latoya Greene, 919-684-9072,

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