Eye drops may possibly treat AMD- A drop a day may soon keep blindness away. Researchers say they have found a possible treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — the leading cause of blindness among the elderly — that could be delivered via eye drops.
There currently is no cure for AMD, nor is there a treatment for its most common form, the so-called dry AMD, which affects 90 percent of AMD suffers. The new research, which was conducted in animals, may potentially lead to a treatment for AMD in the future, the researchers said. The findings were published Wednesday (Oct. 9) in the journal PLoS One.
In the new findings, the researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts led by associate professor of ophthalmology Rajendra Kumar-Singh describe their work as a “proof of concept” study. They demonstrated, in mice, that a chemical called PPADS (short for pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2′,4′-disulfonic acid) repairs AMD-induced damage to the eye.
Previous research has shown that AMD is caused in part by high levels of the membrane attack complex (MAC), which is a part of a normal, healthy immune system. The MAC typically forms on the surface of invading bacteria, poking holes through them and destroying them. In people with AMD, however, for reasons not entirely clear, the MAC also targets cells in the retina, killing them and causing a loss of vision. In the new study, the researchers experimented with PPADS because it is thought to interfere with both MAC formation and new blood vessel growth.
Working with anesthetized mice, the researchers induced tissue damage and blood vessel growth characteristic of AMD. They then applied PPADS daily and, essentially, watched the drug heal the eye damage. Kumar-Singh told LiveScience that the eye drops that ultimately could be used on people likely wouldn’t use PPADS, but rather a more refined drug. This research is the first demonstration that a drug can slow the features of dry and wet AMD by topical application — that is, something that could be self-administered as eye drops.
Robert Mullins, an AMD expert and associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, who was not part of the new research, said he was intrigued by the study. However, he said that whether MAC is involved in AMD “is still an area of intense study.” If MAC injury is the source of the blood vessel degeneration seen in wet AMD, then local “small-molecule inhibition” as demonstrated with PPADS “holds exciting possibilities,” he added.
This article came from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/eye-drops-macular-degeneration_n_4100835.html
Article written by Christopher Wanjek, Columnist
Published: 10/15/2013 07:06 AM EDT on LiveScience

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