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Treatments » Macular Degeneration

Recently, there has been considerable progress in developing treatments for Macular Degeneration.

Research and Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Thanks to investments in research from organizations like The Foundation Fighting Blindness, more and better treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are emerging every day. Most current AMD therapies are geared toward minimizing the risk of advanced forms of disease and slowing the progression of vision loss.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is also funding genetic research and biological studies to identify the root causes of AMD, which will lead to preventions and cures. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to entirely eliminate vision loss from AMD.

The Foundation also supports investigations in areas such as stem cell therapies and retinal transplantation, because these treatment approaches offer hope for restoring vision to people who have lost most or all of their sight to AMD and other retinal degenerative diseases.

Please visit this Web site regularly to learn about the latest research advancements and breakthroughs. The Foundation is frequently posting news on emerging therapies. Information on clinical trials for promising treatments is also provided on our Web site.

Always consult your ophthalmologist before pursuing any treatment for AMD or any other retinal degenerative disease.

FFB does not endorse specific treatments for AMD or other retinal degenerative diseases. Consult an ophthalmologist to determine what treatment is appropriate for you.

This document may not reference every available AMD clinical trial or treatment.

For the latest information on AMD treatments, research, and clinical trials, please visit

Thyroid Hormone Suppression — An Emerging Approach for Saving Vision
A recent study shows that the therapy, which still needs to be tailored to humans, could be used to treat a number of retinal diseases.
Pfizer to Fund Development of Stem Cell Treatment for AMD

Embryonic stem cells are taking an important step toward becoming a treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) thanks to Pfizer’s expected announcement that they will financially back development of this therapeutic approach at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

Promising Drug Slows Progression of Dry AMD by 45 Percent
Fenretinide, a drug being developed by Sirion Therapeutics, slowed the progression of advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 45 percent for people receiving a higher dose of the treatment in a Phase II clinical trial.

Emerging Treatment Stabilizes Vision in People with Dry AMD

Owings Mills, MD - March 26, 2009 — An innovative technology, employing a tiny capsule implanted in the eye, is stabilizing vision in people suffering from dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT), developed by Rhode Island-based Neurotech, preserved vision in a majority of the 51 people who participated in a Phase II clinical trial.

FFB Funds Oxford BioMedica Study of Gene Treatment in AMD

FFB will fund a pre-clinical study, directed by a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, to test the drug RetinoStat on animals to establish safety and effectiveness in treating AMD.

Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs and Aspirin Show Protection Against Wet AMD

Vision scientists are working hard to find a way to prevent wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its associated blindness. A new report puts statins and aspirin in the spotlight. Statins are drugs designed to reduce cholesterol in the blood and, according to the research, reduced the risk of developing the wet form of AMD. Aspirin, a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, also reduced the risk of developing wet AMD.

MACUGEN® slows vision loss in wet AMD, receives FDA approval

MACUGEN (pegaptanib) is the first FDA-approved treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that inhibits the growth of unhealthy blood vessels underneath the retina. In contrast, most other available treatments for wet AMD involve procedures that destroy the blood vessels after they’ve grown. The proliferation of sub-retinal blood vessels — a process known as choroidal neovascularization (CNV) — causes substantial and rapid vision loss for people with wet AMD.

FDA Approves Lucentis for Wet AMD

Genentech has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lucentis™ for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Other Key AMD-Related Research Initiatives

Complement Factor H (CFH) gene — In early 2005, FFB-funded researchers identified variations in a gene known as CFH, which are implicated in as many as 50 percent of all cases of AMD. In early 2006, these same investigators found that variations in CFH along with variations in two other newly identified genes, factor B (BF) and complement component (C2), are present in 74 percent of AMD cases.

Emerging AMD Treatments Currently in Clinical Trials

AdPEDF — GenVec has just completed a Phase I human study of a gene therapy for the treatment of wet AMD. The name of the treatment is adenovirus-based Pigment Epithelium Derived Factor (AdPEDF). The company believes that AdPEDF will preserve vision in people with a variety of retinal degenerative diseases including dry AMD. The AdPEDF treatment involves the delivery of a gene that leads to the production of the protein PEDF, which helps keep photoreceptors healthy, thereby preserving vision. A Phase II study of AdPEDF is underway for treating patients with early to moderate wet AMD. FFB funded earlier, preclinical studies of PEDF.

Current AMD Treatments (FDA has Approved Marketing of these Therapies)

AREDS formulation — The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) — a landmark investigation conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) — determined that antioxidant supplementation can slow the progression of AMD. The AREDS formulation is an over-the-counter antioxidant supplement recommended for people who are at risk of developing more advanced forms of either dry or wet AMD.

General Nutritional and Lifestyle Guidelines to Reduce Risk of AMD

Smoking increases the risk of AMD; it is the most significant, modifiable risk factor for developing the disease.

Investigators have reported that other risk factors for AMD may include: high blood pressure, obesity, heavy alcohol use, frequent consumption of processed baked goods, and long-term exposure to the sun.

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