AMD Update is our monthly e-newsletter full of the latest information about macular degeneration, treatment and research.
After years of experience with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the Argus II team has implanted the device into a person with dry AMD. Eighty -year-old Ray Flynn received the implant from Second Sight and when it was turned on several weeks later, he was able to perceive lines, shapes and objects. Mr. Flynn has been legally blind due to advanced dry macular degeneration. Prior to the operation, his central vision was essentially gone..
Top line results from a Phase I/II study were released, along with recruitment for a Phase III clinical trial. This research involves purified human neural stem cells (HuCNS-SC), which are not derived from embryonic tissue.
The 15 patient clinical trial was designed to evaluate the safety and preliminary effectiveness of stem cell transplantation in eyes with geographic atrophy (GA). As dry AMD progresses, it can cause GA, where an entire area of retinal cells are lost. A single procedure to transplant cells under the retina was carried out and participants were tested for vision, contrast sensitivity and imaging tests to determine the size of the geographic atrophy.
The notion that patients could self treat wet macular degeneration with eye drops is certainly appealing. We’ve been following this development for several years.
At the recent meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists, final results of the Phase II study were presented by Jeffrey Heier, MD. The IMPACT study has been looking at the effect that Squalamine eye drops have on the number of injections needed to treat wet AMD. Participants were people newly diagnosed with wet AMD who had not been treated. They were randomly assigned to a group – one group to receive the Squalamine eye drops; one group to use placebo eye drops. Both groups started out with a single Lucentis injection and used the eye drops (drug or placebo) twice a day. After that, all patients were watched carefully and received a Lucentis injection when needed.
The standard treatment is for wet macular degeneration involves repeated injections into the eye. These can be very expensive, especially for someone without a secondary insurance. Lucentis and Eylea cost around $2000 per injection. The financial burden can be overwhelming.
The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation is dedicated to providing help and hope to underinsured patients who would otherwise be unable to afford high-cost specialty medications.