by Dan Roberts
As reported in the Aug. 28, 2008 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have found a genetic link associated with dry AMD. That’s the good news. The bad news is that siRNA drug therapy may increase the risk for dry AMD in patients who have that genetic variant.
The research team found that the protein TLR3 helps fend off certain viral infections. However, it also increases the risk for dry AMD in subjects taking an experimental anti-VEGF drug called “small interference ribonucleic acid” (siRNA), which activates TLR3. In fending off viral infections, TLR3 also attacks infected retinal cells, resulting in “a 60 percent spike in retinal cell death among mice and humans genetically susceptible to developing dry AMD.”
Patients currently involved in the siRNA study (labeled Cand5) sponsored by Acuity Pharmaceuticals should contact their doctors for more information.