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Vision research collaboration on novel treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration
Moorfields Eye Hospital is to collaborate with Salutaris Medical Devices, Ltd (SalutarisMD TM) to advance the research and development of a novel medical device for use in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The device enables retinal specialists to administer high precision localized radiation therapy to the back of a patient’s eyes to stem vision loss.

A Moorfields research team led by consultants Mr. Adnan Tufail, Mr. Praveen Patel and ophthalmic surgeon Mr. Kam Balaggan will work with the SalutarisMD team on the further development, application and evaluation of this new technology.

Approximately 26,000 new cases of wet AMD occur in the UK each year and the disease is responsible for 90% of severe vision loss cases associated with AMD which primarily affects older adults.

Wet AMD is caused by the development of choroidal neovascularization and occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina at the back of the eye. The novel medical device allows the application of brachytherapy (a form of radiation) through the posterior sclera, avoiding the need for more invasive surgery or complex therapeutic machines.

The device enables lesion-specific targeting where the retina specialist delivers localized tissue irradiation, customized for each patient. The device is designed as a practical, clinic-based procedure that can be performed in the same environment as the current anti-VEGF injection treatments for wet AMD.

To date, the device has been tested in a Phase I safety trial in the United States. Although the trial sample was small in size with a short follow-up period, all 6 subjects did show improvement in vision and 3 subjects required no additional anti-VEGF injections within the 90-day trial period.

Peng Khaw, Director of Research and Development at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said: “We target diseases that are both clinically significant and where there is an outstanding existing track record of translational achievements, turning laboratory discovery into patient benefit. AMD is one of those disease areas where we continue to work to make a major impact for patients and we are highly committed to investigating new and improved treatments."

“We are delighted to have signed this collaborative agreement which will enable our AMD experts to work with SalutarisMD to take forward the development, application and measures for success of this technology."

“One of the attractions of this application is the way it enables the treatment to be administered in a non-invasive way, without the need for complex expensive equipment. A retinal specialist can use it in a normal clinical setting and that could be important in the development of better more cost effective protocols in the longer term. If patients have to return less frequently for follow-up visits, that is good news.”

Dr. Laurence Marsteller, Managing Director of SalutarisMD, Ltd. said: “We at SalutarisMD are honoured and excited to collaborate with one of the world’s leading eye hospitals and largest ophthalmic research programmes in the world. We have a shared mission: to have a global impact for the improvement of vision and the preservation of eye health.” Work is scheduled to begin the setting up of a Phase I clinical study in the UK in 2013.

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