New Drugs Found to Combat Major Blindness Cause

Monday, 16 Sep 2013 05:22 PM

By Nick Tate

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A class of drugs known as MDM2 inhibitors may offer promise at combating the vision loss associated with the macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in seniors.
 
Researchers at the University of North Carolina have published new studies of mice that found the drugs were highly effective at regressing the abnormal blood vessels responsible for the vision loss associated with the disease.
 
"We believe we may have found an optimized treatment for macular degeneration," said Sai Chavala, M.D., director of the Laboratory for Retinal Rehabilitation and assistant professor of ophthalmology at the UNC School of Medicine. "Our hope is that MDM2 inhibitors would reduce the treatment burden on both patients and physicians."

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The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, offers new hope to the estimated 11 million Americans who have some form of macular degeneration. Those with the disease find many daily activities such as driving, reading, and watching TV increasingly difficult.
 
The best available treatment for macular degeneration is an antibody called anti-VEGF that is injected into the eye. Patients must visit their doctor for a new injection every four to six weeks. But the new drugs might offer a less costly, less burdensome alternative.
 
"The idea is we'd like to have a long-lasting treatment so patients wouldn't have to receive as many injections," said Chavala. "That would reduce their overall risk of eye infections, and also potentially lower the economic burden of this condition by reducing treatment costs."

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