Emerging Treatments for Macular Degeneration

New treatments are emerging for Macular Degeneration.  Researchers are developing treatments for macular degeneration that use both genetic and molecular agents that target the VEGF cascade of the disease.  These new macular degenerations treatments come at a time when there are many studies taking place on the effectiveness and safety of the anti-VEGF drugs for such as Lucentis.

While at the Willis Eye Institute Alumni Conference, Jason S. Slakter, MD indicated that the drugs Lucentis, Macugen and the off-label drug Avastin have revolutionized the treatment of wet macular degeneration in the last several years.  However, it was noted that these anti-VEGF drugs are not effective for all macular degeneration patients and Dr. Slakter indicated that new treatments for the eye disease were being developed.

Some of the macular degeneration treatments discussed included Sirolimus, a drug that targets mTOR, a protein that plays a role in promoting VEGF.  This agent is in phase 2 clinical trials and shows promise as an effective treatment for this eye disease.

RTP801, a small interfering RNA molecule that supresses VEGF production is in phase 1 trials for intravitrial delivery.

VEGF Trap-Eye being developed by Bayer Healthcare and Regeneron is in phase 3 testing against the popular macular degeneration drug Lucentis.  The VEGF Trap-Eye is a fusion protein that inhibits the VEGF molecule and has been shown to be effective in improving the visual acuity and in reducing choroidal neovascularization in macular degeneration patients.

The advancements in treatments are not limited to wet macular degeneration.  There are emerging treatments as well for dry macular degeneration including an implant that produces and delivers ciliary neurotrophic fact, a neuroprotective agent.  The early data from the phase 2 trial of geographic atrophy has shown favourable results according to Dr. Slakter.

With these many emerging macular degeneration treatments, patients can feel somewhat relieved that there are advancements occurring in treating this eye disease.