Radiation Therapy for Wet Macular Degeneration

The 18-month data from NeoVista’s Phase II feasibility stufy examing its epiretinal brachytherapy for treatment of wet macular degeneration was revealed at the 41st scientific meeting of the Retina Society.  The data was a result of a long-term study which was started to test the safety and efficacy of their radiation therapy when used in conjunction with Avastin injections as a treatment for wet macular degeneration.

This treatment for wet macular degeneration applies a targeted dose of radiation to the leaking blood vessels that affect the central vision of the eye.  In this treatment, two injections of an anti-VEGF drug such as Avastin are delivered as a treatment at the same time as the radiation.

The preliminary data shows that the targeted radiation therapy for macular degeneration is both safe for the patient and the administering physician, as well as may provide a mechanism to restore the patient’s vision.  This expands the current treatment of wet macular degeneration which is generally ongoing injections of anti-VEGF drugs such as Avastin, Lucentis and Macugen.

The patients that received this radiation therapy for macular degeneration were examined after an 18-month follow-up and 25 trial participants showed an average improvement in visual acuity of 10.7 letters;  96 percent of the patients loss 15 letters or fewer, while 76 percent gained some letters.  44 percent gained 15 letters or more, while 8 percent gained 30 letters or more.

The most interesting aspect of the study showed that 68 percent of the participants did not require additional injections of Avastin to treat their wet macular degeneration.  The average number of injections of Avastin to treat the wet macular degeneration was only 2.4 injections by month 18.

With the success of the Phase II trials, Neovista continues to enroll patients in the company’s Phase III trials, which will use the same radiation therapy at the same time as the FDA approved anti-VEGF drug for wet macular dgeneration Lucentis versus Lucentis alone as a treatent for wet macular degeneration.