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HomeminewsHIV/AIDS Drugs Could Treat AMD

HIV/AIDS Drugs Could Treat AMD

Inexpensive, safe drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS over the past 30 years could be repurposed to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other inflammatory disorders, according to a study published in the journal Science.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

An international group of scientists, led by the laboratory of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor and vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky, has discovered that Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), the most widely used class of anti-HIV drugs,
possess an intrinsic and inflammatory activity.

NRTIs are thought to be therapeutic in HIV/AIDS patients because they target the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which is critical for replication of HIV.

The study published in Science reported that multiple FDA-approved NRTIs prevented retinal degeneration in a mouse model of dry AMD, by blocking an innate immune pathway called the ‘inflammasome’. NRTIs were effective in other disease models that share common signaling pathways with the dry AMD model, including wet AMD.

Benjamin Fowler, the lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Ambati lab said, “Repurposing of NRTIs could be advantageous, for one, because they are very inexpensive. Moreover, through decades of clinical experience, we know that some of the drugs we tested are incredibly safe. Since these NRTIs are already FDA-approved, they could be rapidly and inexpensively translated into therapies for a variety
of untreatable or poorly treatable conditions.”