Macular Degeneration: nanotech drug treatment could replace eyeball injections

September 26, 2015

Melbourne, Australia, researchers have developed a miniature drug-delivery system that could save people with macular degeneration the 10 injections a year – directly into the eye – that serve as the standard treatment in staving off blindness.

The injections, apart from being a psychological torment, require 24-hour recovery period and increasingly leave the patient at risk of infection, scarring and retinal damage.

Scientists at the Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science have come up with a miniature sponge-like device that delivers multiple doses directly into the macula, the region of the eye responsible for fine vision that allows you to read, drive and recognise faces.

Nano Sponge

Professor Ben Boyd, from the ARC Centre for Bio-Nano Science and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, says it’s thought the device could be loaded with 10 doses of medication, and therefore would only need to be injected once a year.

The tiny sponge is covered in nano-sized light-sensitive pores (one-millionth the thickness of a human hair) that open and close when exposed to infra-red light pulses. Professor Boyd says this means that an ophthalmologist will be able to trigger the medication every six weeks using the same kind of laser deployed in other eye procedures.
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Treatments for Wet Macular Degeneration

January 14, 2013

Macugen was the first antiangiogenic therapy to be approved by the FDA. It was shown to be effective in 70% of cases, but did not restore vision in any statistically significant amount.

Lucentis approved since 2008. Shot given every 4 weeks. 95% effective.

Avastin similar to Lucentis but much less expensive

Eyelea approved since 2011. Shot given every 8 weeks.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a cold laser + dye treatment that is still being used to treat patients with wet AMD, though much less frequently now that useful drugs are available.

Photocoagulation Therapy is a “hot laser” treatment. With the advent of newer therapies, very few “hot” lasers are performed. For years, photocoagulation was the only treatment available for wet AMD.

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Genes Not Very Helpful in Predicting Age-Related Macular Degeneration

December 11, 2012

Although there have been studies that take a look at genetic and environmental risk factors for AMD and how they relate, the relationship between these factors had not previously been extensively studied in patients over a long period of time.

The findings of a study by  Dr. Ronald Klein, M.D., M.P.H. of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine showed that genetic risk factors were not very helpful in terms of predicting the progression and incidence of the disease. Instead, what turned out to be more helpful were actual ophthalmological examinations once early signs of AMD occurred.

“Once the early signs are there, just looking at them ophthalmoscopically will help you estimate development of late AMD much better than the genes themselves. So while the genes are important in terms of understanding causes of the disease, in terms of individual risk assessment, they have less importance at this point in time.”

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The Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

December 11, 2012

The article cited below clearly describes the various stages of Dry and Wet Macular Degeneration.

The following is an idea of how the different stages of AMD can potentially progress:


.    Early Stage Dry AMD

.    Intermediate Stage Dry AMD

.    Late Stage Dry AMD Also called “Geographic Atrophy”


.     Predominantly classic

.    Occult

.    Minimally classic

Understanding and treating AMD of any form is important. Early supplementation and health conscientiousness are your greatest defenses against the degenerative disease. You can slow down AMD’s progression.

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Ohr Pharmaceutical Announces Clinical Squalamine Eye Drop Program for Wet-AMD

June 27, 2011

Ohr Pharmaceutical Inc. OHRP -2.91%announced today that it is advancing its clinical Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (“Wet-AMD”) program with a novel topical formulation. Using its proprietary technology, Ohr reformulated Squalamine for ophthalmic indications from an intravenous infusion (“IV”) to a topical eye drop. The topical formulation is designed for enhanced uptake to the back of the eye and decreased potential for side effects. The previous IV formulation had been awarded fast track status and a Special Protocol Assessment (“SPA”) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a Phase III registration study in patients with Wet-AMD.

Lucentis requires monthly injections directly into the eye; Squalamine delivered topically can be conveniently self-administered by the patient on a daily basis

Lucentis has the propensity for side effects and potential inherent complications of an intravitreal injection; Squalamine has shown a good safety profile even when administered systemically in significantly higher doses


Macular Degeneration: Top 5 Symptoms

March 13, 2011

The macula, which is located in the central region of the retina behind the eye, is responsible for clear vision. It is needed to discern colors, notice contrast, read, write, and appreciate fine details. Macular degeneration is the ineffective functioning of the macula. This disorder can be caused by either broken blood vessels that increase fluids in the eye or dried and degenerated cells in the eye.

There are two kinds of macular degeneration: wet and dry. When abnormal blood vessels develop behind the macula, wet macular degeneration occurs. For dry macular degeneration to occur, the macular cells degenerate and break, causing macular function disturbance.

Macular degeneration symptoms include:

  • Seeing distorted images.
  • Blurred vision due to an inability to identify contrast
  • Diminished ability to identify the intensity of colors
  • Fluid or blood in the eye
  • Yellow deposits in the retina

Macular degeneration can be diagnosed based on a visual acuity test. This measures the eyes’ sensitivity to distances. Another test, tonometry, measures the pressure in the eye. The physician also preforms a dilated eye exam where the retina and optic nerves are examined for symptoms of macular degeneration.

An effective test for macular degeneration is the Amsler Grid, a macular degeneration symptoms grid. This grid is like a checkerboard with a black dot. A person with age related macular degeneration will see a distorted grid and a broader black spot.

Symptoms of wet AMD can be treated with photodynamic therapy or laser surgery. In photodynamic therapy, a drug is injected into the arm. It travels to the eye and sticks to the swollen or leaky blood vessels. The eye is then exposed to light of a certain wavelength. This process drains out excess fluid and restores vision. Continued medication can prevent reformation of wet AMD.

Dry AMD can be treated only if detected in early stages. In advanced or intermediate stages, AREDS drugs can be used to prevent worsening of the condition. AREDS drugs are a combination of high doses of zinc, copper, vitamins, beta carotene, and vitamin C.

It may be possible to prevent macular degeneration by avoiding fatty foods, eating a healthy diet rich in leafy vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, fish and meat, and drinking plenty of water. Maintaining a healthy weight and strong immunity and not smoking may also help prevent age related macular degeneration.

Read more on Macular Degeneration: Top 5 Symptoms


Bayer and Regeneron Say VEGF Trap-Eye Improves Treatment of Wet AMD

January 22, 2011

Bayer HealthCare and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals say that two Phase III studies testing VEGF Trap-Eye (aflibercept ophthalmic solution) in wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) met the primary endpoint of statistical noninferiority in the proportion of patients who maintained (or improved) vision over 52 weeks compared to ranibizumab (Lucentis).

The goal of these studies was to demonstrate that VEGF Trap-Eye could improve vision and maintain this improvement over time with a more convenient every-other-month dose. Patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2 mg monthly achieved a statistically significant greater mean improvement in visual acuity at week 52 versus baseline (secondary endpoint) compared to ranibizumab (Lucentis) 0.5 mg monthly.

Further results will be presented at the Angiogenesis Conference in February 2011. Bayer and Regeneron are planning to submit regulatory applications in Europe and the U.S. in the first half of 2011 based on the positive results of these two trials.