WASHINGTON, Nov 20, 2014 (AFP) – Drugs used to treat the HIV virus and AIDS could be used to fight against vision loss, a US university study said Thursday.
Research conducted on mice shows that a widely-used class of antiretroviral drugs (NRTI) used against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are also effective against macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease.
The University of Kentucky researchers found that the NRTI drugs neutralize a protein pathway called the "inflammasome," helping prevent macular degeneration.
In the study published in the journal Science, the researchers said the drugs may also be able to prevent liver inflammation and stop complications from tissue transplant.
"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," said lead author Benjamin Fowler.