Ranibizumab Found Effective Against Diabetic Retinopathy
Baltimore, MD - In a randomized clinical trial of more than 300 participants, researchers from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have found that ranibizumab — a drug most commonly used to treat retinal swelling in people with diabetes — is an effective alternative to laser therapy for treating the most severe, potentially blinding form of diabetic retinal disease. Results of the government-sponsored study also show that the drug therapy carries fewer side effects than the currently used laser treatment.
“These findings mark an important advancement in the treatment of diabetes-related vision loss,” says co-author Neil Bressler, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and chief of the retina division of Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute. “For almost four decades we have been searching for a treatment that is as effective as the laser therapy we currently use, but with fewer side effects, and we may have found it.”
Since the 1970’s, ophthalmologists have successfully used panretinal photocoagulation as the gold-standard treatment for so-called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a disease that causes extensive harm to the blood vessels that nourish the light-sensitive tissue (the retina) that lines the inside back of the eye. The laser therapy usually preserves central vision in the retina’s macula, but often damages night and side vision.
In a report on the research, published online November 13, 2015, by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers say ranibizumab is one of several drugs that block the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance long known to spur the development of excessive and abnormal blood vessels in the eyes of some people with diabetes. Continue>
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