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AMD implant shown to be safe and successful

19/06/2019By Callum Glennen
Recently published results have shown the safety and effectiveness of a slow release medication implant designed to treat neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

The implant technology, developed by Genetech and Roche, is designed to continuously deliver medication into the eyes, subsequently avoiding the need for ongoing anti-VEGF injections. A reservoir is implanted into patients’ eyes, which slowly releases drugs and can be replenished without additional major surgeries.

In a clinical trial of 220 people, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine have found the implant is both effective at maintaining vision and safe for patients. As part of the trial each patient received the implant in one eye, and was split into groups receiving various levels of dosage. Patients were monitored over a two-year period from 2015 to 2017.

Peter Campochiaro
Peter Campochiaro
“This study shows that the implant is safe and effective, and may only require a clinic visit and refill every six months”
Peter Campochiaro, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Though patients who received low dosages recorded some vision loss, those who received high dosages experienced a vision improvement at a level higher than a control group who received traditional injections. Patients also needed fewer treatments when compared to traditional injections, with patients receiving a high dosage not requiring a refill for 15 months on average.

The technology also proved to be safe for patients. Of the first 22 patients to receive the implant, 11 experienced some bleeding into the eye. However, a change in the implant procedure saw only seven of the next 157 patients experience bleeding.

Dr Peter Campochiaro, the George S. and Dolores D. Eccles Professor in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, said the implant could help patients avoid irreversible vision damage by making complying with treatment easier. “This study shows that the implant is safe and effective, and may only require a clinic visit and refill every six months,” he said.

Future studies are planned for a bigger group of patients all receiving the larger dosage. According to Campochiaro the cost of the treatment is not yet known.

The findings were published in the journal Ophthalmology.


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