NRTI Lamivudine Looks Promising for AMD Treatment


As an efficacious treatment for the HIV virus, the NRTI Lamivudine is now showing promise as a drug to combat age-related macular degeneration, known also as AMD. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTIs are the most commonly used class of anti-HIV medications and they are touted to successfully act on the enzyme reverse transcriptase, prohibiting the replication of the HIV virus which causes AIDS. A milestone study, recently released from the Kentucky University’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences investigated nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), a class of drugs that has been used to treat HIV/AIDS for the past 30 years, and revealed innovative research regarding the NRTI Lamivudine for the treatment of AMD. Patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration experience a collection of the toxic molecule RNA in the retina, causing this debilitating condition. The toxic RNA molecule is remarkably similar to the HIV virus, as both need the reverse transcriptase enzyme to conclude their life cycle. These landmark findings have extended the possibilities for the use of not only Lamivudine for the treatment of AMD, but also many other NRTIs like Zidovudine, CAS # 30516-87-1 and Stavudine, CAS # 3056-17-5.

Age- related macular degeneration is a serious disease that leads to progressive vision loss and is currently untreatable in 90 percent of patients. The two forms of AMD are classified as dry and wet. The most common form is dry AMD, as it accounts for most cases. Wet AMD is less common, occurring in less than 10 percent of cases, however it can become virulent quickly. Statistics show that over 11 million adults in the United States have partial or total blindness due to AMD, and this figure is expected to double by the year 2050. Worldwide cases of AMD are estimated to surpass 200 million people worldwide by 2020. The FDA has not approved any therapies to combat dry AMD to date.

Research gleaned has indicated that NRTIs, specifically Lamivudine, staves off cell death in mice. A pleasant surprise for researchers was the ability of NRTIs to block the group of proteins coined inflammasones. These overactive inflammasones contribute to AMD and are believed to purport several other diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Concern regarding adverse effects among scientists using Lamivudine and other NRTIs to treat AMD is apparent, however it is a minor concern. The re-purposing of NRTIs for the treatment of dry AMD relies on the past research and development of these crucial drugs, with the majority of adverse effects originally associated with these drugs being allayed by perfecting their use. While negative side effects were of concern when NRTIs were initially administered there has been a plethora of safety information gathered by R&D over the past several decades. Reduced dosing regimens, alongside newer compounds with effectual safety profiles makes the use of NRTIs for conditions other than HIV prudent. Lamivudine, in specific, has been deemed to be a remarkably safe and effective drug, with virtually no negative side effects. Perhaps this information is why researchers are looking at Lamivudine as a possible treatment for Ebola as well. The “off-label” use and acceptability of NRTIs is becoming widely praised across the globe, leading to hope and excitement for the future of pharmaceutical research. LGM Pharma can assist clients as a supplier/distributor of the API Lamivudine, CAS # 134678-17-4, for research and development purposes. Clients can be assured of quality API products and continuous support throughout the R&D process.

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