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Treatment for dry AMD finally in sight

Robyn_Guymer2015_smlOptometrists and eye care professionals are being encouraged to refer suitable patients with dry AMD to the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), to take part in one of three new clinical trials.

The multi-centred, industry-sponsored, randomised trials are some of the first clinical trials to offer potential pharmaceutical therapies for treating Geographic Atrophy (GA), also known as Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the most common cause of irreversible poor vision in people over 50 in our community. Although there have been great advances in the last decade in reducing the vision loss associated with neovascular (or wet) AMD, there is no intervention to slow the progression of geographic (or dry) AMD.

The new clinical trials, sponsored by Allergan, Roche and Apellis, involve placing treatments into the vitreous cavity of the eye, either as regular 4-8 weekly injections, similar to the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections for wet AMD, or as slow release encapsulated technology, releasing the active drug over many months.

Lead Investigator Professor Robyn Guymer is Head of Macular Research at CERA and an Ophthalmologist.

“For nearly 20 years I’ve seen patients with geographic atrophy in the clinic and apart from monitoring their vision loss over the years, there was nothing we could do for them. Now we finally have some treatment options on the horizon, and we need optometrists and eye health providers to spread the word and refer people that potentially meet our criteria,” said Prof Guymer.

For patients who do not meet the criteria for the trials, or who cannot attend frequent clinical appointments, there is an opportunity to participate in one of two industry-sponsored natural history studies of geographic atrophy. The studies require a 6 monthly review and there is no intervention or randomization.

If you are an eye health professional and your client would like to participate in any of these clinical trials, please send their details, retinal diagnosis and any scans or images to cera-macular-research@lists.unimelb.edu.au or Professor Guymer, CERA, Level 1, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne 3002. The individual’s information will be saved to a registry of potential participants, to ensure that they can take advantage of any future suitable trials.

If you are a potential patient interested in registering for our Clinical Trials Registry, please fill out your details here

The Centre for Eye Research Australia is located in Melbourne, Victoria. Please contact the relevant industry partner to find out if there is a recruitment site near you.