May 30, 2017 – Eye Treatement
Anchor lead: Can a virus help treat macular degeneration? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Macular degeneration is a common cause of vision loss as people age, with one form of the condition treated with injections of a protein right into the eye. This protein binds to something called vascular endothelial growth factor, abbreviated VEGF, and keeps new blood vessels from forming. Now research by ophthalmologist Peter Campochiaro and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has shown that a virus can be used to enable the protein to be made in the eye itself, easing treatment issues for patients.
Campochiaro: They need injections every four or five weeks in order to keep the disease quiet. Sometimes they’ll miss an appointment, the disease will reactivate, and they can get permanent loss of vision, so we’ve been exploring an alternative approach, which instead of injecting a protein that binds VEGF, we inject a viral vector that goes into the cells in the eye, and then produces the protein that binds VEGF. As a result a single injection can act for a very long period of time. :32
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.