Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years old. One form, called “dry” AMD is caused by slow cell death of the central retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE cells), and currently has no treatment. Researchers at UCI have found that by combining a repurposed FDA approved drug in combination with a natural product, they are able to prevent cell death of RPE cells by boosting mitochondria activity.
·Treatment of dry AMD
·Primary compound used is a repurposed drug and has FDA-approval, saving time and money
·Decreases cell-death and increases mitochondrial function and expression
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. In this disease, damage to a small spot near the center of the retina (macula) causes loss of sharp, central vision. Cases of AMD where vision is lost can be divided into two categories, dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD affects 85-90% of patients and constitutes a gradual breakdown of light-sensitive cells in macula and supporting tissue underneath. There are currently only treatments to reduce risk/delay onset of dry AMD. Scientists at UCI have discovered that a combination of a repurposed drug and a natural product can induce mitochondrial biogenesis, reduce cell death, and trigger the release of cytoprotective peptides in vitro, indicating that this combination therapy may be able to serve as the first protective treatment against dry AMD.
Drugs tested in vitro in AMD RPE cybrid cells (mitochondrial-deficient cell line) for effects on reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial biogenesis, and cell death