Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Menu 17: Updates for June – September 2010

June through September turned out to be busier than anticipated. A number of new technologies emerged that I decided to write about. Included in these were a new sustained release drug delivery system, Iluvien; the use of lasers to treat eye floaters – in both the U.S. and in Europe; the idea of using femtosecond lasers to postpone the need for cataract surgery; a primer on the use of stem cells in ophthalmology; and a new device, the AdaptDx, for the early detection and progression of dry AMD.

In addition, I added two writeups in my Avastin vs Lucentis series; wrote about a new hand-held laser-based device to detect cancerous vs non-malignant tumors in breast cancer; and a clinical update on the Ellex 2RT technique for treating AMD.

All in all, a busy three months.

Here are the details:

Avastin/Lucentis Updates:

Avastin/Lucentis Update 40: Lucentis is Approved for Treating Macular Edema in Retinal Vein Occlusion

According to an announcement from Genentech, Lucentis has been approved by the FDA for treating macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO), this following a six-month priority review by the FDA.

Avastin/Lucentis Update 41: The Story Behind the Invention of Avastin and Lucentis

In helping a university student obtain some research for a paper she was preparing for a journalism class, I inadvertently was able to obtain the rights to publish an exciting story that Wendy Bedale had written about the story behind the story of the invention of Avastin and Lucentis. Her story, based on her experience with her aunt undergoing treatment for AMD has hit a nerve with my readers. I hope you enjoy it as much.

Ellex 2RT Update:

Ellex 2RT Updated Clinical Results: ARVO 2010

Here is a report on the first results of some key pilot studies undertaken in Australia and reported at the May 2010 ARVO Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

And, Some New Technologies:

A New Laser-based Diagnostic to Detect Malignant Breast Cancer Tumors

The story of the Beckman Laser Institute hand-held laser-based diagnostic that can detect between cancerous and benign breast tumors.

Iluvien and the Future of Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Systems

I received a press release from Alimera about its Iluvien sustained release drug delivery system that could administer its payload for up to three years in the retina to treat macula edema and decided I wanted to learn more about this system and the others that may be out there. This incentive led me to obtain the details about Iluvien and the other sustained release drug delivery systems either on the market, or on the verge of becoming available. This report was the result.

Using Lasers to Treat Vitreous Floaters: Laser Vitreolysis

About twenty years ago I saw an ad from Dr. Scott Geller advertising the use of his YAG laser to treat eye floaters. I called and interviewed the good doctor, but did not write up his story at the time. Then in June, I saw another item about the use of lasers to treat floaters and decided the time was right to find out more about the technique and write up this phenomenon.

I managed to locate the three doctors (including, still, Dr. Geller) who were specializing in this technique and interviewed them for this story. Once it got published on the web, it quickly became one of the best read of the over 160 postings on my Journal.

Using Lasers to Treat Vitreous Floaters: Laser Vitreolysis – Part 2

Dr. Scott Geller was the first ophthalmologist in the United States to use a laser to treat eye floaters. He was trained by Dr. Franz Fankhauser of Switzerland, probably the first ophthalmologist to use his YAG laser in doing work in the vitreous.

When I asked Dr. Geller how he got started using his laser to treat floaters, he told me that he would like to think about it and write about his experience. Here, in his own words, (The Origin of Clinical Laser Vitreolysis) are his recollections.

Using Lasers to Treat Vitreous Floaters: Laser Vitreolysis in the UK and Europe

Upon seeing the popularity of my writeup about the three U.S. doctors specializing in using lasers to treat eye floaters, I decided to followup that story with one about the doctors I was able to find in Europe and the UK that also did this. I identified six doctors across the pond and was able to get five of them to agree to be interviewed similarly as their U.S. compatriots. Once published, this story has also received very strong response.

Femtosecond Laser Cataract Removal: The Second Revolution? And, What is Laser Photolysis?

I read an article that described some of the many new applications for the femtosecond laser including cataract removal and laser photolysis. I had not heard  this term before and after looking into it, decided that the idea of photobleaching the human lens to clarify it and postpone the need for cataract surgery for between 3-7 years deserved to be told to my audience.

A Primer on the Use of Stem Cells in Ophthalmology

I had came across an interesting news release from International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) announcing that it had formed a new business unit, Cytovis, to focus on stem cell programs in ophthalmology, including CytoCor for the cornea and CytoRet for the retina.

That got me thinking about how little I knew about what was going on in stem cell research in ophthalmology, despite having written about two developments in the field, the London Project to Cure Blindness and the University of California Irvine (UCI) program to develop an artificial retina based on stem cell research.

I decided to become better informed by taking a closer look at what was happening in this field, and presenting that story. This in-depth report is the result.

Stem Cells in Ophthalmology -- An Update: AstraZeneca Joins the Fray

A few days after completing and publishing the story about the use of stem cells in ophthalmology, the announcement of AstraZeneca getting involved in the ophthalmic stem cell industry required an update. I wrote a brief about the news, and then revised my original report to include the information. So, you can read about AstraZeneca here, as well as in the original report above.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) Technology for Treating Open-Angle Glaucoma to be Featured on the Discovery Channel

I received a press release from Lumenis, that it’s SLT technology was going to be featured on the Discovery Channel’s Health Heroes program during the September 24-27, 2010 period. It got me thinking about how I have always been a believer that SLT is a superior first option for treating open-angle glaucoma, and this announcement gave me the opportunity to reiterate this once again.

The announcement also gave me the opportunity to provide the links to my previous writings on the subject of treating glaucoma.

And, finally:

Apeliotus Vision Science’s AdaptDx Device for Early Detection of Dry AMD – A First Report

I follow The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary on Twitter, and late in August, I noticed a message looking for candidates to participate in a trial using the Apeliotus AdaptDx to detect the early stages of dry AMD. This was the first I had heard about either this company or the device, and my natural curiosity compelled me to look further into both. This report is the result of my curiosity.


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