Reaching patients not responding to treatment
The new early stage trial, likely to begin 2018 (after further safety studies have been carried out), will test the safety and efficacy of Magacizumab in people with wet AMD.
If successful, the therapy has the potential to go beyond current treatments for AMD by specifically targeting unhealthy blood vessels and reaching large numbers of patients who do not respond to current treatment. Treatment for wet AMD involves injections that block a protein called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). VEGF has been demonstrated, in previous studies, as the main controller in angiogenesis.
Anti-VEGF treatments are effective in blocking VEGF but approximately 10 to 15% of patients do not respond to this therapy. Anti-VEGFs may also be associated with side effects, particularly over long-term use. These include, for instance, raised pressure in the eye and a theoretical risk of stroke.
Comments Professor John Greenwood, senior author of the research from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology: “Our findings suggest that LRG1 has less of a role in normal blood vessel growth and so may be particularly applicable to abnormal blood vessel growth. This makes LRG1 an especially attractive target for therapeutic intervention in conditions where vessel growth contributes to disease such as wet AMD, progressive diabetic retinopathy and cancer.”
Professor Stephen Moss from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, who is also leading the research adds: “Genetic studies have revealed that the gene that codes for LRG1 is conserved in vertebrates, and this study confirms that mouse and human blood vessels express LRG1. We predict, therefore, that abnormal blood vessel growth is also a conserved process and that the role of LRG1 is equally applicable to human pathological angiogenesis.”
1. Wang X, Abraham S, McKenzie JA, Jeffs N et al. LRG1 promotes angiogenesis by modulating endothelial TGF-β Nature 2013 ;499(7458):306-11
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