Buck Institute finds potential macular degeneration treatment

Researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have found a potential treatment for macular degeneration using a broccoli-related compound.

By injecting it in mice, they found evidence of a possible treatment for the eye disease, which is the leading cause of vision loss affecting more than 10 million Americans.

“We scientists must learn from nature. Nature has come up with these wonderful strategies to detoxify our bodies,” said Arvind Ramanathan, an assistant professor at the Novato-based Buck Institute and lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports in July.

The road to creating an FDA-approved drug is long. Ramanathan estimated that if the Buck Institute can get a grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on more aspects of the compound, “I would hope in the next five years we would move into a clinical phase,” meaning testing of the potential drug.

It would still be years after that before the drug could come to market, but the work of Ramanathan and his colleagues gives hope to the millions of Americans who are affected by macular degeneration or at risk for the disease.

With this in mind, Ramanathan and his team set out to find a compound “that acts like indole, but only better.” After running a computer search of millions of compounds, “we found a compound like this, but it was 10 times more potent in detoxification.”

The compound is known in short form as 2AI.

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