Macular Degeneration Treatment
Current treatment of macular degeneration involves the use of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs (VEGF). Vascular endothelial growth factors are proteins that support the normal development of blood vessels before birth. They also stimulate blood vessel growth after injuries and compromised circulation problems. The growth of unwanted blood vessels in the retina of the eye creates the vision threating issues of macular degeneration. Anti-VEGF slows this progression of vision loss.
Drug Therapy For Macular Degeneration
Aptamers are molucues fabricated to bind securely to a target. Macugen (pegaptanib) was approved in 2004 for the treatment of macular degeneration and was the first aptamer used in the treatment of any human disease. It is both an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor and a aptamer. Macugen binds to the protein responsible for blood vessel proliferation in the wet form of macular degeneration and inhibits new blood vessel formation. Eye doctors have mostly switched to using Avastin and Lucentis, which typically produce a small improvement in vision. Macugen slows progression of macular degneration but has not been shown to enhance eyesight. While Avastin and Lucentis are not aptamers, a clinical study is underway to test the addition of an aptamer to Lucentis injections.
Individualized Treatment Of Macular Degeneration
Aptamers should have a bright future in the treatment of eye diseases. Their precise targeting capacity in combination with nanotechology should allow for very individualized treatment eye doctors can only imagine today.