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Med Sci Monit. 2013 Apr 26;19:300-8. doi: 10.12659/MSM.883895.

Novel drugs and their targets in the potential treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common complication of diabetes. It causes vision loss, and the incidence is increasing with the growth of the diabetes epidemic worldwide. Over the past few decades a number of clinical trials have confirmed that careful control of glycemia and blood pressure can reduce the risk of developing DR and control its progression. In recent years, many treatment options have been developed for clinical management of the complications of DR (e.g., proliferative DR and macular edema) using laser-based therapies, intravitreal corticosteroids and anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, and vitrectomy to remove scarring and hemorrhage, but all these have limited benefits. In this review, we highlight and discuss potential molecular targets and new approaches that have shown great promise for the treatment of DR. New drugs and strategies are based on targeting a number of hyperglycemia-induced metabolic stress pathways, oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways, the renin-angiotensin system, and neurodegeneration, in addition to the use of stem cells and ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) technologies. At present, clinical trials of some of these newer drugs in humans are yet to begin or are in early stages. Together, the new therapeutic drugs and approaches discussed may control the incidence and progression of DR with greater efficacy and safety.

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