Further progress in treating Macular disease are reported in the Macular Society’s latest newsletter.
Monthly injections may be able to halt the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Clinical trials in the UK, Europe and the US, are now under way, investigating whether new drugs injected into the eye can preserve sight by slowing the spread of the disease.
In dry AMD the immune system becomes faulty and damages healthy eye cells but researchers have found two new injectable drugs which could combat this. Both work by introducing proteins which stop the faulty inflammatory process from causing damage to cells of the macula, which leads to sight loss.
Researchers believe the new therapies could be on the market for widespread use within four years.
Professor Paulo Stanga, a world-leading eye surgeon who works at the London Vision Clinic in Harley Street, has been involved with the research. He said: “These results are exciting and fantastic news.
“At present there is no approved treatment for this previously irreversible AMD and over the years patients have been told nothing could be done. We know increasing numbers of patients will end up with complete loss of central vision if we do not find a solution.
“It is essential to treat dry AMD in the early stages before there is more loss of vision.”
Implant means patients with wet AMD can go six months without injections
A study looking at the effectiveness of a small, refillable eye implant has shown that 98% of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were able to go six months between treatments.
This is the first wet AMD treatment to achieve such positive results for this length of time between treatments.
As well as reducing the number of treatments from as many as 12 per year to two per year for patients with wet AMD, the results show patients achieved similar vision outcomes to receiving monthly Lucentis injections.
Levi Garraway, chief medical officer and head of global product development for the organisation Roche which has developed this treatment, said:
“For over a decade, we have been working to develop new treatments that better address the unmet needs of people living with neovascular AMD,”
Keep up-to-date with news on macular disease and the future of eye clinics by following or joining the Macular Society. Their Advice and Information Service is available on 0300 3030 11 and the society is free to join.