"Overall, a reduced risk of visual-acuity loss was observed with all doses as early as six weeks after treatment was begun, with evidence of an increasing benefit over time up to week 54," the authors write. "Pegaptanib reduced the chance of not only the loss of 15 letters or more of visual acuity (considered a moderate loss) but also a loss of 30 letters or more (six lines on the eye chart, which is considered a severe loss.) In addition, treatment with pegaptanib reduced the risk of progression to legal blindness in the study eye, promoted stability of vision, and in a small percentage of patients, resulted in more visual improvement at week 54 than among those receiving sham injections."
The authors conclude that treatment with pegaptanib provide a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit in a broad spectrum of patients with neovascular AMD, regardless of the size or angiographic subtype of the lesion or the baseline visual acuity. The rate of injection-related adverse events represents a potentially modifiable risk but necessitates vigilance, the authors caution.
The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) in Boston participated in these clinical trials. In addition, researchers and physicians at MEEI -- Drs. Anthony P. Adamis (formerly of MEEI), Evangelos Gragoudas (MEEI) and Joan Miller (MEEI) -- were among the first to study the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which causes abnormal blood vessel growth in eye disease. Their experimental studies showed that levels of VEGF protein were increased in eyes that developed abnormal new blood vessels, and that VEGF-blocking drugs were able to prevent the growth of these abnormal blood vessels.
Contact: Todd Ringler
Edelman Public Relations