Injections could halt progression of dry AMD

Posted: Monday 03 August 2020

Monthly injections may be able to halt the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration. 

Clinical trials in the UK, Europe and the US, are investigating whether new drugs injected into the eye can preserve sight by slowing the spread of the disease.

In dry AMD the immune system becomes faulty and damages healthy eye cells.

Researchers found two new injectable drugs which could combat this - Pegcetacoplan and Zimura. Both work by introducing proteins which stop the faulty inflammatory process from causing damage to cells of the macula, which leads to sight loss

Researchers believe the new therapies could be on the market for widespread use within four years.

Professor Paulo Stanga, a world-leading eye surgeon who works at the London Vision Clinic in Harley Street, has been involved with the research. He said: "These results are exciting and fantastic news.

"At present there is no approved treatment for this previously irreversible AMD and over the years patients have been told nothing could be done. We know increasing numbers of patients will end up with complete loss of central vision if we do not find a solution.

"It is essential to treat dry AMD in the early stages before there is more loss of vision." 

Other research into dry AMD

Alongside the injection-based trials there are other potential drug targets for dry AMD for those who have already lost some vision.

One of these includes gene therapy. Last year we reported on a trial which saw a lady from Oxford become the first person in the world to have gene therapy to try to halt the progression of dry AMD. 

While this was an early trial to check the safety of the procedure, those working on the project expect to see some results from the first patient soon. 

Geraldine Hoad, research manager at the Macular Society, said: “These are exciting developments which we very much hope will mean that there is a treatment for dry AMD in a few years.”

The Macular Society is currently funding projects exploring the potential to develop gene therapies for the macular dystrophies, Best and Stargardt disease. Find out more about the latest projects the Society is working on.