27.03.2012

New eyedrops "can treat eye disease"

New eyedrops "can treat eye disease"

By Adrian Galbreth

Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and ischemic retinopathy are two of the leading causes of vision loss on the planet and can severely hamper the lives of many, particular as there are few effective treatments for the conditions.

However, experts in Canada believe that a new type of eyedrop could hold the key to easing symptoms and even reverse the effects of these two blinding conditions.

The report by Gene Signal, a company focused on developing innovative drugs to manage angiogenesis-based pathological conditions, highlights the efficacy of aganirsen eyedrops (GS-101) in both wet AMD and ischemic retinopathy.

Gene Signal describes aganirsen as an antisense oligonucleotide, and revealed that it expects to complete phase III trials for the treatment of progressive neovascularisation in the cornea in the near future.

According to the study, published in the online journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, aganirsen demonstrates can reach and exert activity on the retina.

Lead author Dr Sylvain Chemtob, from the Universite de Montreal, explained that AMD and ischemic retinopathies are major causes of blindness that are associated with neovascularisation, which can lead to sub-retinal and intravitreal hemorrhage and even retinal detachment, which causes blindness.

Co-lead author Dr Matthew Lawrence, from RxGen in Hamden, Connecticut, added: "For the first time in this study, we have demonstrated that IRS-1, an angiogenic protein, is over-expressed in the retina in patients suffering from neovascular retinopathies and that in a non-human primate model, aganirsen is able to effectively regulate neovascularisation resulting from its over-expression without affecting normal vascularisation."

Eric Thorin, president of Gene Signal, said the study, if confirmed in clinical trials, show "unprecedented evidence" that topical aganirsen may offer advantages over currently available drugs due to its different mode of action, with excellent efficacy and safety profile.

"A topical agent for retinal neovascular disease would revolutionise treatment," he added.

by Alexa Kaczka


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