Categories
Macular Degeneration Treatments

New Macular Degeneration Drug on the Horizon

A company, Ophthotech, recently announced their drug is now funded to enter Phase II FDA trials for testing.

Their new drug, E10030, is an aptamer (similar to an antibody) targeted against “Platelet Derived Growth Factor.”  The aptamer is designed to specifically bind to PDGF and prevent “plugging-in” to its receptor.

The drug is novel for two reasons; 1) it is directed at a second protein PDGF and not VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and 2) it is being tested in combination with anti-VEGF medication Lucentis.

The company feels that the combination of the two drugs gives a better improvement than Lucentis/anti-VEGF alone.

What Does This Mean? Phase II FDA trials  are meant to test for safety, but more importantly, are also designed to test for efficacy of a drug.  In other words, Phase II trials determine how well a drug works.  Many drugs fail at this point.

The identification of another factor leading to wet macular degeneration is intriguing; however, as are the claims that the two agents work better than anti-VEGF alone.

Also, I bring this drug to your attention to highlight that it is a potential new drug and not even close to approval, yet you may hear that this is a new “treatment.”  It is not and has a long way to go.  Many people will be touting this as a new therapy.

The FDA has a total of 4 clinical trials.  We are several years away from significant results.

“Randy”

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
Fairfax Virginia

Categories
Macular Degeneration

"AMD Alliance International" Launches Video Contest

AMD Alliance International, an international group that promotes awareness of age related macular degeneration (ARMD), is sponsoring a video contest that helps communicate the impact of macular degeneration.

The contest is open to anyone.  The video must be 3 minutes in length and convey the societal, psychological or physiological impact of macular degeneration.  Prizes are as follows;

First Prize $10,000
Second Prize $2000
Third Prize $1000

Entries must be completed by February 28, 2010.  Please visit the “AMD Alliance International” web site for more information, video contest rules and application.

“Randy”

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
www.TotalRetina.com

Categories
Macular Degeneration Nutrition

Folic Acid and B Vitamins May Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

In a study involving women with cardiovascular disease, researchers may have found an association between certain vitamins and the development of macular degeneration.  Researchers compared B complex vitamins and folic acid against placedbo in a large group of patients with cardiovascular disease.  Their findings, as reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicated a lower chance of developing macular degeneration along with lower blood levels of an amino acid homocysteine.  Supplements were given, on average, daily for over 7 years.

What does this mean for you? This may be a significant finding, or association, where macular degeneration seems to decreased when taking certain supplements.  There are too many variables to come to this conclusion.  First, the group studied is biased, or rather, it is not a random group of people.  There is bias toward sex (female) and systemic health (cardiovascular disease).  Second, the study found lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.  Increased levels of homocysteine are seen in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.  Folic acid, pyridoxine (B6) and cyanocobalamin (B12) lower serum levels of homocysteine.  The study was not able to determine whether or not the lower homocysteine levels in the blood caused the decrease in macular degeneration.

Article:  Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:335-341.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist, Ophthalmologist
www.TotalRetina.com

Categories
Macular Degeneration Retina

Cases of ARMD to Double

In this month’s (April,  2009) edition of Archives of Ophthalmology, a study reports the prevalence of patients afflicted with macular degeneration is expected to almost double by the year 2050.  In other words, the number of patients suffering the disease at a given time is expected to near double in the next 40 years.

All forms of macular degeneration are expected to increase over the next 40 years.  There are two major types of macular degeneration; dry and wet.  The most common form of macular degeneration is the “dry” form (also known as non-exudative macular degeneration).  The most aggressive form of macular degeneration is the “wet” form (also known as exudative macular degeneration).  Significant vision loss may result in either type, although the dry form  usually progresses much more slowly.

There is good news.  The report also predicts that the use of antioxidant supplements will significantly reduce the amount of vision loss as our population ages, that is, current advances in supplements seem to be helping.

Currently there is no approved treatment for dry macular degeneration.  Patients with wet macular degeneration often receive injections into their eye of medications called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) inhibitors such as; Lucentis®, Avastin® and Macugen®.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist, Ophthalmologist
www.TotalRetina.com

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