Topical Treatment for AMD on the Horizon

Topical Treatment for AMD on the Horizon

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects upwards of 11 million people in the United States alone. It is a disease that attacks a small location in the center of the eye causing blurriness, spots, compromised depth perception, peripheral challenges and in some cases, blindness.

There are two types of AMD, wet and dry, with the wet diagnosis as more advanced and potentially leading to vision loss. There is available treatment that may be able to significantly slow AMD progress or, with recent laboratory study advancements, reverse it altogether.

President of the Alliance for Aging Research, Susan Peschin, reports that,

“With the aging of the U.S. population, the impact of AMD will only grow, with the number of Americans affected by this disease expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.”

With so much at stake it is no wonder that research is at a rapid pace to treat this disease before it reaches such high numbers. Recent developments of various drug applications are showing promising results that just may bring vision back to so many currently struggling with the debilitating  effects of AMD.

Injection Therapy and Risks

Several recent studies have shown positive results when injection therapies have been applied as an AMD treatment. Known as anti-VEGF  treatment, (vascular endothelial growth factor, an essential part of increasing AMD progression), the protocol involved receiving an injection directly into the eye for rapid delivery of medicine into the retina.

According to a May 2016 press release by the National Eye Institute (NEI) describing current research,

“The new study looked at people with AMD who had regular treatment with [injection therapy] drugs designed to block VEGF. After five years, 50 percent of them had 20/40 vision or better [as compared to] Ten years ago, the best available treatment for AMD was photodynamic therapy—in which an intravenous drug (injected into a vein) and laser are used to seal off leaking blood vessels. Past studies have found that just one year after diagnosis, less than 15 percent of patients given this therapy alone retain 20/40 vision”

Published in the journal Ophthalmology and presented May 2nd at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Seattle, NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D comments,

“This is the most comprehensive study of anti-VEGF therapy for AMD to date, It points to the importance of long-term follow-up in studies evaluating disease treatments.”

The eye injection treatments remain a viable option yet new research has emerged showing the potential for less invasive procedures with comparable or improved results.

Possible Topical Treatment

Injection therapies are showing some steady, positive results yet there has been some concern regarding various risks from this invasive procedure.

Recently, PanOptica, a private biopharmaceutical company located in New Jersey developed PAN-90806, a trial topical an anti-VEGF eye drop that has recently been reported to show significant results in reducing AMD advancement.

Presented at the Retina Subspecialty Day at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting in Chicago (October 15-18), confirmation of a positive biological response from a first phase of clinical trials of PAN-90806 was announced.

According to Scott W. Cousins, M.D., Robert Machemer Professor of Ophthalmology and Immunology, Vice Chair for Research, and Director of the Duke Center for Macular Diseases at Duke Eye Center,

“We are encouraged by our early clinical experience with PAN-90806 and its potential to empower patients to take a more active role in managing chronic treatment of their AMD, If proven safe and effective through additional clinical trials, PAN-90806 topical anti-VEGF eye drop would reduce or eliminate injection-related risks and would be compatible with any combination therapy administered in any way.”

Overall, it was found that injection therapies may cause tears in the Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Heal Ocular Surgery News reports that,

“By the 12-month follow-up, 32 eyes were diagnosed with RPE tears, 31 of which had pigment epithelial detachment (PED) at baseline. Twenty-eight eyes developed tears within 3 months, and four developed tears at 5 months, 7 months, 11 months and 12 months. Tears in 25 eyes developed from fibrovascular PEDs, in five eyes from hemorrhagic PEDs and in two eyes from serous PEDs.”

Talk to your eye doctor about new AMD treatments and what may be the best choice for you.