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New neovascular AMD biomarkers may assist diagnosis and treatment

Taiwanese researchers have discovered a novel method to predict neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) through optical coherence tomography (OCT) biomarkers, in a breakthrough that may lead to future treatments for the disease.

Scientists from the National Taiwan University, in Taipei, discovered that intraretinal cysts (IRCs) and pigment epithelial detachment (PED) were predictors for poor visual impairment in nAMD patients.

“Among the OCT biomarkers that were examined, PED and persistent IRCs were important predictors of poor visual improvement, and we could use baseline OCT morphology and the treatment response after loading injections to differentiate exudative from degenerative IRCs and thereby better predict the persistence of cysts at month 12,” the study authors wrote in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers retrospectively analysed medical records of 126 eyes from 81 men and 45 women to evaluate the characteristic changes in OCT biomarkers in nAMD. The average patient age covered by the study was approximately 75 years old.

The study examined the eyes of nAMD patients treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs such as intravitreal ranibizumab or aflibercept, and then monitored the visual outcomes after one year. The investigators measured OCT at baseline, as well as at months three, six, and 12 after the initial injection.

“In year one, where patients averaged about five injections, the BCVA remained unchanged from 20/100 to 20/125 at month 12,” the researchers wrote.

“baseline CFT were all linked with baseline visual acuity, they found that IRC presence resulted in a similar trend but with borderline significance.

The researchers are hoping their findings could help predict treatment responses and guide clinicians in adjusting treatments for patients.

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