In article released in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers describe a combination of brachytherapy and intravitreal injections of Avastin to treat patients with choroidal neovascularization from ARMD (the so-called “wet” form of the disease). In this prospective, randomized trial, 34 patients were treated with brachytherapy and two injections of bevacizumab (Avastin®).
The patients were treated and followed for 1 year. No system complications or side effects were seen. As Phase III studies are underway, the patients will be followed for an additional 2 years. 91% of patients lost less than three lines of vision, 68% maintained or improved vision and 38% gained at least three lines.
The authors did note that recurrent lesions did occur (the choroidal neovascular membranes regrew) and that these lesions were treated with additional injections.
What does this mean? The significance of this short article is that a combination of radiation and anti-VEGF injections may reduce the frequency of repeat injections, that is, radiation may somehow enhance the effects of anti-VEGF therapy or vice versa. Either way, patients may experience the same improvement, but with the combination be more stable and require fewer treatments.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist