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Pegaptanib in the treatment of wet, age-related macular degeneration

Authors Stanley A Vinores

Published 15 September 2006 Volume 2006:1(3) Pages 263—268

Stanley A Vinores
Wilmer eye institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Abstract: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of severe visual loss worldwide. Neovascular (wet) AMD accounts for 90% of the visual loss associated with the disorder and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to play a major role in neovascularization and vascular permeability, the major causes of visual loss in AMD, making it an ideal target for therapeutic intervention. To utilize this strategy, pegaptanib, an aptamer that specifically binds to and blocks VEGF165, the VEGF isoform primarily responsible for abnormal vascular growth and permeability in AMD, was developed. Following encouraging preclinical trials, clinical trials showed that pegaptanib stabilized vision and reduced the risk of severe visual loss in the majority of patients with AMD, with some patients showing visual improvement. Pegaptanib has maintained a good safety profile with only occasional adverse effects. Even greater success was achieved when pegaptanib was used in combination with another therapeutic strategy, such as photodynamic therapy or bevacizumab, a pan isoform VEGF inhibitor. Further investigation of pegaptanib for the therapy of wet AMD, particularly in combination with other modes of therapy, should be encouraged.

Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, pegaptanib, vascular endothelial growth factor, choroidal neovascularization, macular edema

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