New Drug Could Slow Progression of an Untreatable Form of Blindness

Lampalizumab, a new drug believed by eye experts to reduce damages caused by the most common form of blindness, is being used by patients suffering from geographic atrophy (GA).

 Now in its first clinical trial phase, lampalizumab treatment is believed to reduce damages in most patients with GA by 20%. GA, an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs when cells in the part of the eye responsible for vision is damaged due to build-up of waste deposits such as drusen. As a result, permanent and progressive vision loss is experienced by people suffering from GA.

In the UK, around 500,000 people over the age of 50 suffer from GA. Currently, there are no approved treatments for early, intermediate or advanced forms of it.

According to Professor Andrew Lotery, the study’s chief investigator and an ophthalmologist at Southampton General Hospital, the study is an important milestone for both patients and clinicians.

“Lampalizumab has already been shown to reduce damage caused by GA by 20% in most cases and, for some patients with a specific genetic biomarker, by up to 44% in early-stage trials,” he said.


“These are significant reductions and, if they are replicated in this larger study, it will revolutionise the way we treat the condition and mean patients are no longer condemned to blindness when diagnosed,”  Lotery added.

The new drug will be tested on 2,000 patients in a two-year project. About two-thirds of the patients will be given 10 mg dose of lampalizumab via intravitreal injection. On the other hand, one-third of the patients will be treated with fake injections. The procedure will be done every four to six weeks.

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