by Angus Liu
Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent has already proven its value in treating atopic dermatitis and asthma. But could it also prove useful in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common cause of blindness in people over age 65?
A new eLife study by a group of scientists at Tottori University in Japan suggest that just may be the case. The researchers argue that the immune molecule interleukin-4 (IL-4) and its receptor—which Dupixent inhibits—could be promising targets for treating AMD.
In AMD, inflammation in the eye leads to excessive growth of blood vessels in the retina, a process that can cause vision loss. The Tottori team put forward the Dupixent hypothesis after finding that elevated IL-4 levels abnormally activate bone marrow cells. That promotes the development of the blood vessels that are the culprit in AMD.
Scientists are already aware that stem cells in bone marrow play a key role in the repair of damaged tissues. Normally, IL-4 is known to be a potent inhibitor of the formation of new blood vessels. So the Tattori researchers set out to determine the functional roles of bone marrow cells and IL-4 in AMD.
First, they found that patients with AMD had higher levels of IL-4 in their eyes than did individuals who were undergoing surgery for cataracts. IL-4 was also increased in a mouse model of AMD……