The data from research collaboration Action Against Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has found that artificial intelligence can identify existing drugs that may reduce sight loss from macular degeneration.

The results showed that a number of existing drugs have the potential to reduce sight loss from AMD, the leading cause of sight loss.

The collaboration partnered with artificial intelligence company BenevolentAI to carry out the research, and used its ‘Benevolent Platform’ to comprehensively review and understand the millions of scientific papers, clinical trials information, and additional datasets relating to AMD with a view to identifying potential gene targets and treatments.

The research identified seven existing drugs - either already in development or being used to treat other conditions - that have the potential to be repurposed to treat macular degeneration, in addition to the analysis identifying new gene targets for investigation.

Dr Wen Hwa Lee, chief executive for Action Against AMD said: ‘It’s really promising that we have identified current drugs that may have a positive effect on macular degeneration. Our next step will be to confirm which of these drugs have the potential to slow progression of the disease and reduce sight loss for people with this condition.”

Action Against AMD has announced plans to take insight from the project to identify which drugs and gene targets are a priority for further investigation.

AMD is the leading cause of sight loss and can result in complete loss of central vision, with an estimated prevalence of 196 million people worldwide.