New treatment for severe eye disease found disease

July 22nd, 2010 - 5:33 pm ICT by ANI  

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Washington, July 22 (ANI):
Researchers may have found a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a
severe neurodegenerative disease of the retina that ultimately results in
blindness.

University of
Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) researcher Shalesh Kaushal, MD, PhD, chair
of ophthalmology and associate professor of ophthalmology and cell biology and
his team conducted the study.

Results from this study,
in conjunction with prior in vitro data, suggest valproic acid may be an
effective treatment for photoreceptor loss associated with RP.

Five of the seven patients
in the study experienced improvement in their field of vision.

Because of its already
known qualities as a potent inhibitor of the inflammatory response pathway and
cell death, valproic acid was believed to have a unique profile making it a
potential candidate as a retinal disease treatment.

“Repurposing drugs
already approved by the FDA and which have been shown to be safe, such as
valproic acid, is an economical and time-efficient way to quickly bring new
treatments to patients,” said Kaushal.

The study is published in
the July 20 online edition of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. (ANI)

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