ARVO Presentation Highlights: Uveitis, Lucentis, IOP, Retinal Detachment, Dry AMD, Bacterial Conjunctivitis, Glaucoma

May 7, 2009

Here’s a roundup of some ARVO presentations making the news:

Uveitis therapy: James Rosenbaum, M.D., of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, reported that an investigational therapy for uveitis outperformed placebo in one randomized clinical trial but produced mixed results in two other studies reported here. In the positive study, the oral calcineurin inhibitor voclosporin (LX211, Luveniq) led to >1 step improvement in vitreous haze, compared with placebo. The second study showed a statistically significant reduction in eye inflammation with voclosporin compared with placebo (P=0.045), but did not meet the primary endpoint of all-cause therapeutic failure. In the third trial, voclosporin failed to distinguish itself from placebo in the uveitis subgroup with anterior inflammation.  Read the full story on MedPage Today.

Lucentis: Christina Frennesson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Linkoping University, Sweden, reported that the ability to read a newspaper or even prepare a meal — “quality of life” functions that require near-vision abilities — appear to improve when patients with the “wet” form of age-related macular degeneration undergo treatment with ranibizumab (Lucentis). “People want to be able to read their newspaper in the morning,” observed Dr. Frennesson. Focusing on quality-of-life measures, Dr. Frennesson reported that the 30 patients in the study achieved a 50% improvement in their ability to read newspapers and a 30% improvement in all types of near-vision activities.  Read the full story on MedPage Today.

Mountain Climbing: Researchers accompanying mountain climbers for purposes of studying the effects of altitude on the physiology and structure of the eye found that the climbers’ eyes underwent changes in intraocular pressure and cornea thickness. However, after a week at the base camp, the intraocular pressure returned to normal. Read the full story on MedPage Today.

Paloma Pharmaceuticals Retinal Detachment Therapy: Geoffrey P. Lewis, Ph.D. and colleagues at the Neuroscience Research Institute and Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA presented “Palomid 529, An Inhibitor of the Akt/mTOR Pathway Reduces Photoreceptor Cell Death Following Experimental Retinal Detachment” on behalf of Paloma Pharmaceuticals. Work from their study indicates that intravitreally administered Palomid 529 slows photoreceptor cell death following retinal detachment in a seven day rabbit study without obvious side effects to the retina. This suggests that inhibiting the PI3K/Akt/mTor signal transduction pathway by Palomid 529 may be neuroprotective to photoreceptors and perhaps represents a novel therapy for other retinal diseases such as proliferative vitreoretinopathy, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. See full press release.

Acucela Oral Pill for Dry AMD: Acucela presented preliminary data showing that its oral pill for treatment of the “dry” form of age-related macular degeneration, ACU-4429, has passed an early safety test and is ready to advance to a preliminary Phase II clinical trial this summer of 30 to 40 patients that will examine whether the treatment can successfully help preserve vision.  Read more.

Fluoroquinolone for treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis: Michael R. Paterno, MD, and colleagues reported on phase 1 data on besifloxacin (Bausch & Lomb), a novel fluoroquinolone used for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis, as well as safety data from three other randomized, double-masked parallel group studies. The researchers looked at the results from treatment on a total of 1,350 patients given besifloxacin for bacterial conjunctivitis. There were no changes in endothelial cell density, with negligible systemic exposure from topical administration. Read more.

Glaucoma drug from Inotek Pharmaceutical: Inotek Pharmaceuticals presented positive preclinical results supporting its glaucoma drug, INO-8875, as a topical agent for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) associated with primary open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Read the full release.




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