Three becomes one

Scientists have found that multiple drugs used together for retinal degeneration can enhance each other


Seeking better treatments for retinal degeneration (RD), scientists have found that three drugs are far better together than alone.

The combination of Cycloset (bromocriptine), Flomax (tamsulosin) and Lopressor (metoprolol) was able to significantly protect the photoreceptors of mice, according to the paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The medicines, already approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), each enhanced the other – protecting the eye from degeneration to a higher degree and enabling lower doses of the drugs to be used.

Combination therapies were common for cancer and heart disease treatments, but were rarer outside these areas.

The drugs were identified for their RD potential based on their ability to target specific intracellular signalling pathways of the body. The scientists then measured their effectiveness by comparing the genetic expression of the photoreceptor cells in mice suffering RD against those without the condition.

Case Western Reserve University researcher and paper co-author, Professor Krzysztof Palczewski, told OT that the research was now ready for the clinic.

By selecting FDA-approved drugs, significant time and money could be saved, he emphasised, adding: “It will save five to seven years and the need for toxicity studies.”