Exciting New Product Developed for the Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease affecting millions of Americans, and is the leading cause of blindness in Americans and Europeans over the age of 65. As the eye ages, abnormal blood vessels grow behind the retina and leak blood and fluid, causing the retina to malfunction, which leads to blindness. Previously there were no treatments to reverse the damaging effects of this disease. Now, however, a new technology developed by pharmaceutical company Regeneron promises to provide hope to all those suffering with AMD.
Regeneron partnered with Bayer HealthCare to develop and commercialize a product called VEGF Trap-Eye and began testing the product’s effectiveness in 2007. Despite the slightly lethal-sounding name, VEGF Trap-Eye has proven itself to work wonders in tests, improving visual acuity in the majority of people who received the product.
What Is VEGF Trap-Eye?
VEGF Trap-Eye is a man-made protein designed to fuse to natural proteins in the human body. It has been engineered to bind to VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) which is one of the proteins involved in AMD. VEGF naturally occurs in the body and is needed to support tissue and organ growth by triggering the growth of blood vessels. However, this is the protein that causes those harmful blood vessels to grow behind the retina. When VEGF Trap-Eye binds to this protein, it renders it unable to create any new blood cells, preventing AMD.
Now We Wait
Though tests have affirmed VEGF Trap-Eye’s success with treating AMD and other conditions that affect the retina, such as central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO), Regeneron is awaiting a meeting with the FDA’s Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee on June 17, 2011 to see whether they can begin marketing this product in the U.S. If the FDA gives the okay, the millions suffering from AMD and other eye problems may find relief at last.
If you have more questions about age-related macular degeneration or treatment options, contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today.