Encouraged by the effect of ranibuzumab in people with macular degeneration, the Hopkins researchers injected the drug into the eyes of 10 people losing their sight from macular edema, one of many complications of diabetes and a first stage of diabetic retinopathy.
Over the course of several months of therapy, every patient in the preliminary Hopkins study could read at least two more lines on the standard eye chart, the researchers said. Moreover, the thickness of the patients’ maculae, the central part of the retina responsible for seeing fine details, decreased an average of 85 percent. The American Journal of Ophthalmology published the team’s findings in their December issue.
"The results are impressive," says Quan Dong Nguyen, M.D., M.Sc., an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, "although we will not know until we begin a larger clinical trial what the long-term benefits of the drug might be."
The Hopkins group believes that ranibuzumab interferes with a protein that spurs the growth of unwanted blood vessels in the back of the eye. Vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, is released when the oxygen supply in the eye is restricted by blood vessel damage related to diabetes.
In a self-preserving attempt to acquire more oxygen, the VEGF signals for the creation of new blood vessels, which almost always damage, rather than improve, vision by blocking light’s entry onto the retina.
"We’ve suspected for awhile that ranibuzumab’s ability to shut down VEGF’s signaling would do the trick because it’s highly likely that VEGF is the culprit when it comes to diabetic macular edema," says Nguyen.
More than 4 million diabetics in the United States have diabetic retinopathy and, according to the National Eye Institute, one in 12 of those experience at least some vision loss.
Macular edema, a first stage of retinopathy, occurs when, over time, excess uncontrolled blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the eye, causing fluid and fat to leak onto the retina at the back of the eye. The swelling interferes with focus and blurs vision. Making matters worse, a lack of oxygen often then triggers VEGF’s production cycle.
All 10 subjects in the study had some vision loss at the start of the clinical trial, in which ranibuzumab was administered at the one, two, four and six month marks. The thickness of each patient’s macula was also measured at each point in the study using an advanced digital imaging technique.
"Within a week, several patients experienced dramatic reductions in the thickness of their maculas, and there were further improvements with each injection," says Peter Campochiaro, M.D., the Dolores and George Eccles Professor of Ophthalmology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is also an investigator in the study.
Ranibuzumab is marketed for treatment of neovascular macular degeneration by Genentech Inc. under the brand name of Lucentis.
Jeff Ventura | EurekAlert!
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy