Breast cancer drug may help treat AMD

Scientist in the lab

New research has revealed that a drug commonly used for cancer treatment could treat degenerative retinal disease, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa

Researchers from the National Eye Institute in the US monitored light-induced retinal injuries in mice. They noticed that photoreceptor damage and atrophy was greatly reduced or absent in mice that were fed a diet containing tamoxifen, compared to mice on a diet without the drug.

Dr Wai Wong, of the National Eye Institute, said one of the advantages of using tamoxifen as a treatment for denegerative retinal diseases was that it was already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It also has a long history of use in humans.

In an interview with Optometry Today Dr Wong said: "The challenges, as in all treatments, involve the potential side effects of tamoxifen."

He said the side effects of the drug could potentially complicate the planning and evaluation of clinical trials. To overcome this different doses of the drug will need to be tested.   

The findings have been published in The Journal of Neuroscience