There are many causes of age-related macular degeneration and any of them may prove a good target for treatment for dry AMD. A long list of these was discussed at the recent Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. They were divided into the types of drugs being studied. We’ll look first at inflammation and the complement factor system, which is part of the immune system.
Stem cell therapy has the potential to solve a number of diseases. Research in the eye has yielded some promising results. At the recent Academy of Ophthalmology Retina Subspecialty Day, several speakers reported on the different approaches and the clinical trials now underway.
Geographic atrophy (GA) is the term used to describe advanced DRY AMD. At the Academy meeting, Dr. Philip J. Rosenfeld talked about the natural history of GA and how it affects patients.
Early dry AMD is usually diagnosed when drusen (protein deposits) appear scattered on the retina. These can distort the vision. Patients can develop more of these, and they can become larger, closer together and more soft in appearance. At that point, the eye is more likely to progress to wet AMD.
Advanced dry AMD leads to geographic atrophy. Instead of just the scattered location of drusen, GA tends to form an island of lost photoreceptor cells. These make up the layer of cells that gathers in light and sends images to the brain. Once these cells are lost, they cannot be brought back and they can also affect the underlying layers of the retina.
The LUMINOUS Clinical Trial is looking at “real world” results of treating those with wet AMD with Lucentis. Rigid clinical trials get FDA approval, but when thousands of patients are treated in real life, do they get the same result?
Does it help? If you’re getting Avastin and switch to Lucentis, does it make a difference?
Could this approach eliminate or lessen the need for eye injections?
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.