Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment Market to Advance as Team Suggests a Medicine that Cures alcoholism could also Help in Reversing Visual Loss

Posted On April 16, 2022     

Visual impairment is a disease that puts lot of burden on the patients and the caregivers. This is because they are highly dependent on their near and dear. Thus, there is an urgent need for developing treatments that can defeat this disease or help reduce its symptoms. 
 
Researchers believe they have discovered a means to restore partial vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration. The condition is the primary cause of blindness after retinitis pigmentosa (RP) inherited condition. This rare genetic ailment causes the breakdown and loss of retinal cells. A study suggests disulfiram, a medicine used to treat alcoholism and marketed under the brand name Antabuse, may hold the answer to reversing this visual loss. The findings are highly relevant for Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment Market as they may help patients overcome the condition.
 
The team knew that the pathway blocked by the medicine disulfiram to treat alcoholism was quite similar to the pathway hyper-activated in degenerative blindness. They expected some progress, but the findings much exceeded our expectations. Researchers saw a vision lost over time retained in individuals who received the treatment.
 
It is a symptom caused by the progression of outer retinal degeneration (such as age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa). Therein the light-sensing cells called "photoreceptors" slowly die over the years. Disulfiram helped restore some vision in mice research. This was done by suppressing sensory noise in the inner retina caused by dying photoreceptors in the outer retina.
 
It was discovered that disulfiram could target that sensory noise. Thus, allowing the remaining photoreceptors in the outer retina to complete the signal to the brain and, eventually, restore some vision. They discovered that practically blind mice treated with disulfiram performed significantly better at identifying images on a computer screen.
 
The team added if a blind person was given disulfiram and their vision improved even slightly, that would be a fantastic result in and of itself. However, it would strongly suggest that the retinoic acid pathway is involved in vision loss. And it would be a significant proof of concept that might lead to new drug development and a whole new strategy for assisting in the improvement of vision.

The researchers intend to collaborate with ophthalmologists to undertake a clinical trial of disulfiram on RP patients. The trial would involve a small group of persons who have advanced but not yet total retinal degeneration. If one drinks alcohol while taking disulfiram, they will experience significant adverse effects such as headache, nausea, muscle cramps, and flushing.
 
However, if disulfiram does enhance vision, more targeted medicines that do not interfere with alcohol breakdown or other metabolic activities could be sought. The researchers have already tested an experimental medicine called BMS 493, which blocks the retinoic acid receptor and gene therapy to shut down the receptor. Both of these techniques significantly improved vision in RP mice.

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