Peptide May Surpass Anti-VEGF For Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Peptide May Surpass Anti-VEGF For Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) continues to be, according to the American Society of Retina Specialists, “…the leading cause of significant visual acuity loss in people over age 50 in developed countries”.

Researchers continue to look for a cure but there is also much study geared toward developing better applications to treat AMD. This focuses on retarding the progress of this disease beyond medications and procedures currently available. The more AMD can be slowed down the more time those searching for a cure can have. Plus, vision loss can be kept at bay much longer so people that would otherwise go blind also get more time which means the potential for more treatment progress as well.

One promising treatment that has recently come to light which is showing impressive lab results on mice is the application of the peptide AXT107. This peptide, once fully developed, could very well surpass anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatments which is one of the top neutralizers of AMD today.

Blood Vessel Misbehavior

Abnormalities in blood vessel production can be due to a number of factors which may include diet, environment, genes, or trauma. In the case of AMD and possibly early onset macular degeneration, researchers have been able to pinpoint where rogue blood vessels are forming.  Anti-VEGF treatments are able to slow this blood vessel formation.

However, these treatments are needed every four to six weeks delivered as an injection of the medicine aflibercept directly into the eye. It is a lifelong treatment, needed frequently due to the chronic development of the VEGF protein. This protein assists in the production of “problematic blood vessels” aka “blood vessel overgrowth” or “blood vessel misbehavior”.

The anti-VEGF injections are not painless and pose a host of other challenges for the patient. Jordan Green, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, comments,

“These frequent visits can become a burden for patients due to the discomfort and small risk of each injection and, for some patients, because their vision is not good enough to drive to appointments.”

Less Injections

Research using AXT107 is showing how this peptide would only have to be injected one or two times per year instead of ten or twelve times, a significant relief for patients.

A study published in Science Transitional Medicine explains how AXT107 works beyond anti-VEGF,

“Rather than a large antibody-like protein like aflibercept, they [researchers] have zeroed in on the tiny peptides that naturally prevent blood vessel overgrowth in the body. They find that AXT107, a peptide derived from collagen IV, does the trick. In multiple mouse and rabbit models of retinal disease, this agent works as well as or better than aflibercept—perhaps because it inhibits multiple growth factor pathways, not just VEGF. As a bonus, AXT107 gathers as a gel within the eye, allowing it to inhibit disease for longer periods of time. AXT107 may form the basis of a new generation of drugs to augment current approaches to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.”

Further research on rabbits showed an 86% reduction of vascular leakage while those treated with aflibercept scored 69%. This is a significant improvement especially when needed less.

It Could Be Coming Soon

It is difficult to gauge when new research such as the AXT107 peptide will come to market. There are often many roadblocks when it comes to safety testing and pilot programs which must first pass strict standards before receiving the green light. However, this peptide may rise quickly given its many attributes for easy streamlining.

Some of the promising factors of an AXT107 mainstream launch include:

  • The drug can be delivered via a controlled, biodegradable micro-particle system
  • Efficiency of reducing blood vessel misbehavior can last months instead of weeks
  • The peptide can easily be manufactured into large quantities
  • Clinical use could be stocked and assimilated quickly
  • With less injections, overall treatment cost could be significantly reduced


Keep an eye out (pun intended) for AXT107 and inquire with your eye doctor of any progress or even experimental programs available. Through the steadfast research of dedicated scientists you will inevitably see more progress in treating macular degeneration and other vision loss diseases.