BenevolentAI has teamed up with Action Against AMD* to find treatments and a potential cure for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the UK.

The company will use artificial intelligence to review and understand scientific papers, clinical trials information, images, formulas, patents and additional data sets relating to the condition.

The technology will then be used to carry out complex reasoning to create a new understanding of the disease, learn, explore, create and translate what it has learnt from this vast volume of information to pin-point important research areas, new ways of preventing AMD and potential treatments.

“AI offers an exciting new way to approach medical research,” noted Action Against AMD Chair, Rob Bryan. “We must find new treatments for AMD because it will affect tens of millions of older people across the world in the coming decades. We are delighted to be collaborating with BAI on this ground-breaking project.”

AMD is the main cause of sight loss in developed countries and the third biggest worldwide. In the UK, more than 600,000 currently have late stage AMD, and this is set to hit 700,000 by 2020 and to double by 2050, as the population ages.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for reducing the risk of severe vision loss linked with the condition, the groups note.

*Blind Veterans UK, Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Scottish War Blinded have formed Action Against AMD to boost funding for research into AMD.