Laird Harrison

August 08, 2017

BOSTON — Treatments for diabetic retinopathy with new mechanisms of action and new options for age-related macular degeneration will be garnering attention here at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 2017 Annual Meeting.

Although current antivascular endothelial growth-factor (VEGF) treatments have proved effective, the frequent intravitreal injections required impose a severe burden on patients, said Pravin Dugel, MD, chair of the ASRS health economics committee.

"In diabetic retinopathy and macular edema, the goal is to improve efficacy and durability by modifying the disease with drugs instead of lasers," Dr Dugel told Medscape Medical News.

A report on top-line results from the phase 2b DEL MAR clinical trial of ALG-1001 (Luminate, Allegro) in patients with centrally involved diabetic macular edema will be delivered by David Boyer, MD, from Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group in Los Angeles.

Diabetic macular edema will also be the focus of a comparison of aflibercept, bevacizumab, and ranibizumab, and a "real-world" analysis of anti-VEGF therapies from a diverse sample of retina specialist electronic medical records in the United States.

OPT-302 (Opthea), a treatment for age-related macular degeneration that acts on both VEGF-C and VEGF-D, will be discussed when Dr Dugel presents phase 1/2a results.

And findings from the phase 2 trial of ICON-1 (Ionic Therapeutics), a modified version of human factor VII used to treat choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration, will be presented by Christine Gonzales, MD, from the Retina and Vitreous Center of Southern Oregon in Ashland.

Human factor VII is a natural ligand of tissue factor, and ICON-1 binds to cells that overexpress tissue factor and signals the immune system to selectively remove pathologic tissue.

Results from the phase 3 RADIANCE trial, comparing ranibizumab with verteporfin photodynamic therapy in patients with myopic choroidal neovascularization, which has not been well researched, will be presented by Paul Hahn, MD, PhD, from NJRetina in Northern New Jersey.

And results from a phase 1 study of an even less-common disorder — inherited retinal disease caused by biallelic RPE65 mutations — treated with voretigene neparvovec (Spark Therapeutics) will be presented by Albert Maguire, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

There will also be reports on diagnostic research. One presentation on uveal melanoma will compare the classification of gene-expression profiles with traditional clinical funduscopic and ultrasound features. A second will look at human plasma metabolomics as biomarkers for age-related macular degeneration.

"A world-class lineup of speakers will present 96 papers, exploring exciting developments and new approaches from all corners of retina's clinical and surgical world," ASRS President-Elect John Pollack, MD, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr Dugel reports relationships with 44 medical companies, including stock ownership in Clearside Bomedical, Digisight, Aerpio, Alimera, Annidis, Macusight, Ophthotech, PanOptica, and TrueVision. Dr Pollack reports relationships with Covalent Medical, Dutch Ophthalmic USA, Genentech, Vestrum Health, and The Winning Pitch Challenge.

Follow Medscape Ophthalmology on Twitter @MedscapeEye and Laird Harrison @LairdH

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