VEGF Trap-Eye Treats Macular Degeneration

VEGF Trap-Eye Treats Macular Degeneration

VEGF Trap-Eye (aflibercept) is another treatment for wet macular degeneration.  The sponsoring pharmaceutical companies, Bayer and Regeneron, just reported favorable results in their own Phase III studies.  Basically these studies compared aflibercept against well known Lucentis (ranibizumab).  They report that VEGF Trap is just as good as Lucentis.

Funny Name, But Still an Injection

Despite the misleading name, VEGF Trap-Eye is still an intraocular injection, but instead of monthly dosing (as is often the case for Lucentis and Avastin), the injections may be repeated every 2 months.

Similar to Avastin and Lucentis

Aflibercept, or VEGF Trap-Eye, is a drug that binds to growth factor molecules and prevents them from reaching their targets, or receptors.  In effect, this medication takes any free-floating VEGF molecules and takes them out of circulation.

Though we don’t know for sure, basically this drug, like Avastin, Lucentis and Macugen, will neutralize the effects of VEGF.  As with the others, it will be used to treat wet macular degeneration.

Also Used Against Cancer

There are many similarities between wet macular degeneration and cancer.  Sure enough, as was also the case with Avastin, aflibercept stems from chemotherapy research.  Regeneron, the U.S. based parent, has ongoing trials using VEGF Trap for treatment against metastatic colorectal cancer, certain lung cancers and prostate cancer.

Other Uses in the Eye

Other uses of aflibercept in the eye may include treatment for diabetic macular edema.  Clinical trials for its use in diabetic retinopathy are ongoing.

What Does This Mean? Yet another treatment may be available for wet macular degeneration.  This treatment, however, has the potential to be just as good as Lucentis (and probably Avastin), but, it needs only to be given every 2 months instead of every month.

While the best treatment of Lucentis/Avastin is not known for sure, many doctors including myself, favor injections monthly.  This seems to yield the best results in terms of vision and ultimately reduces the recurrence rate.

VEGF Trap-Eye seems to be equally effective in all these areas, yet differs only by the injection frequency.  Decrease frequency translates into decreased cost, increased compliance (fewer appointments) and improved convenience.

The advantages of sustained release drug delivery systems are highlighted by the advantages of this less frequently used drug.

The company hopes to have some product available as early as end of 2011.

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