Macular Degeneration News
Radiation & Anti-VEGF Injections for Wet Macular Degeneration Therapy
American Academy of Ophthalmology-November 2007-Jeffrey Heier, M.D. reported on one year results of a multicenter clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of using beta radiation combined with Avastin Injections to treat wet macular Degeneration. At one year it appears that the combined therapy may provide more sustainable resultsfor certain patients. Additional followup and data collection are required to evaluate the long term results on visual acuity.
Smoking and Macular Degeneration
Archives of Ophthalmology: August 2007-Current and past smokers appear to be a considerably higher risk for developing Age Related Macular Degeneration according to a study published in the August 2007 Archives of Ophthalmology. Researchers presented the results of a study that demonstrated that certain smokers were four times as likely to develop ARMD and past smokers were three times as likely to develop geographic atrophy than patients who had never smoked.
Primary Avastin Treatment Superior vs. Secondary Therapy
Retina: July/August 2007-Researchers presented the results of a study to compare the results of using Avastin alone as primary treatment for Macular Degeneration as compared to using Avastin injections after patients had been had first treated with Macugen. The patients treated with Avastin as a primary treatment demonstrated significantly better results after their treatment.
Vitamin Therapy for Age Related Macular Degeneration Improves Quality of Life
Ophthalmology: July 2007-Many studies have suggested that vitamins and supplements may offer a benefit to those suffering from ARMD. A recent study reported in the July 2007 journal Ophthalmology evaluated the cost effectiveness of vitamin therapy for ARMD and found that the overall quality of life was improved and the development of visual impairment was reduced in the better seeing eye.
Statin Cholesterol Medication and Macular Degeneration
American Journal of Ophthalmology: July 2007-While it was hoped that the use of statin medications, commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, would provide some benefit in the progression of Age Related Macular Degeneration, the Beaver Dam Study has found that statins are not associated with either a slowing or progression of ARMD which is in agreement with other early studies including the Rotterdam Study and the Blue Mountains Study. The researchers did conclude that larger, long-term studies are needed to examine the association of statin use and the incidence of late ARMD.
Avastin Approved for Reimbursement by Italian Health Service
Ocular Surgery News: May 2007 -Avastin Injections used for treatment of exudative maculopathy such as in Wet Macular Degeneration will be reimbursed by the National Health Service. This has caused considerable controversy as neither Macugen or Lucentis have been approved for reimbursement, yet both of these drugs have undergone extensive clinical trails to prove safety and efficacy. One can only speculate that this differential reimbursement approval is related to the extreme cost difference between these somewhat similar drugs.
Cost Effectivity of Lucentis Injections vs. Avastin Injections
British Journal of Ophthalmology: May 2007 -Lucentis and Avastin are anti-VEGF drugs used to inhibit the formation of neovascularization. Both are used as intravitreal injections to treat macular degeneration. The San Francisco based firm Genentech markets both drugs. However, British researchers have found that Lucentis costs 50 times more than Avastin without producing even a 2.5 times improvement in effect which researchers say would justify the cost. There is some controversy among Ophthalmologists because Lucentis has undergone specific clinical studies and received FDA approval to treat Macular Degeneration whereas Avastin is being used “off label” to treat Macular Degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Prevention with Beta Carotene Diet Supplements
Archives of Ophthalmology: March 2007 -A specific formulation of dietary supplement has been reported in the AREDS Study to help moderate the onset and severity of Macular Degeneration. A 12-year long term Harvard study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicated that another formulation of dietary supplement containing only Beta Carotene was not effective in preventing Macular Degeneration.
Genetic and Lifestyle Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
Archives of Ophthalmology: March 2007 -Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has shown that individuals with certain common genetic mutations are 50 times more likely to develop Age Related Macular Degeneration than people who have normal copies of the same genes. Further, the chance of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration increase incrementally when lifestyle-related factors of smoking and obesity were added into the genetic equation. The genetic mutations associated with macular degeneration are common in Caucasian populations. The genetic risk factors were not affected in either a negative or positive way by other lifestyle choices including regular aspirin use, fruit consumption, fatty acid ratios, or use of alcohol.