A number of existing drugs have the potential to reduce sight loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to the results of an artificial intelligence project.
Action Against AMD, a research collaboration formed by four sight loss charities in the UK, partnered with BenevolentAI to carry out the research.
BenevolentAI used its ‘Benevolent Platform’ to comprehensively review and understand the millions of scientific papers, clinical trials information, and additional datasets relating to age-related macular degeneration with a view to identifying potential gene targets and treatments.
The research identified seven existing drugs – either already in development or being used to treat other conditions – that have the potential to be repurposed to treat macular degeneration.
In addition, the analysis identified new gene targets for investigation.
Action Against AMD will now be taking the insight from the project to identify which drugs and gene targets are a priority for further investigation.
AMD is the leading cause of sight loss and can result in complete loss of central vision, with an estimated prevalence of 196 million people worldwide.
There are currently no approved treatments for the 95% of patients with early and ‘dry AMD’, although there are treatments for the 5% of patients with ‘wet AMD’ caused by new blood vessel growth – if caught early enough.
“It’s really promising that we have identified current drugs that may have a positive effect on macular degeneration,” said Dr Wen Hwa Lee, Chief Executive for Action Against AMD.
“Our next step will be to confirm which of these drugs have the potential to slow progression of the disease and reduce sight loss for people with this condition.”