Thursday, April 17, 2008

Menu – Part 11: Further Updates and an In-Depth Report on the Ellex 2RT Treatment

Since my first post on Avastin in December 2005, I have now put 22 Updates online. Menu 7 lists articles (and links) 1 through 14; Menu 8 contains information on postings 15 & 16; and this Menu describes postings 17 through 22, covering the continued moves made by Genentech to first restrict the supply of Avastin, and finally rescinding that move.

This Menu also contains further updates on the CATT Study to compare Avastin vs. Lucentis; an update on the NeoVista Epi-Retinal Strontium 90 trials; and an in-depth first report on the Ellex 2RT Retina Regeneration Therapy.

First the Avastin vs. Lucentis Updates:

Avastin/Lucentis Update 17: The Controversy Heats Up Once Again

This WSJ Blog, by Jacob Goldstein, appeared in mid-October telling the story of Genentech’s decision to restrict Avastin sales to ophthalmologists. It managed to raise the fury of the ophthalmic community.

Avastin/Lucentis Update 18: Genentech ...yes, it’s All About the Money

A few days after the WSJ Blog above appeared, David Hamilton, a writer for a venture capital blog, VentureBeat Blog, told the story behind the story – that yes, it was all about the money! With his permission, I reproduced his story.

Avastin/Lucentis Update 19: U.S. Senator Seeks Answers About the Cost Differential from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Again, Jacob Goldstein, in his WSJ Blog, picked up on the story that Senator Herb Kohl got into the act, questioning the agency running Medicare to “explore the reduction of expenditures on expensive drugs such as Lucentis by using alternative treatments such as Avastin.”

Avastin/Lucentis Update 20: Genentech Rescinds Clampdown on Avastin

Once again, I picked up the information about Genentech giving in from Jacob Goldstein’s WSJ Blog. The new policy was also announced by Genentech and the combined AAO/ASRS Task Force, after meeting with Genentech. (I provided copies of both letters on my Journal.)

With that problem solved, I also reported on what Canadian Healthcare was doing about the use of Lucentis or Avastin.

Avastin/Lucentis Update 21: Canadian Healthcare Struggles with Avastin vs. Lucentis Controversy

I found a story in the Globe and Mail about the Canadian Health Canada struggling with the decision whether to approve Lucentis or Avastin for the treatment of wet AMD.

Avastin/Lucentis Update 22: Recent Avastin Study Compared to Use of Lucentis in PrONTO

And, finally, Dr. James Folk, in his Medical Rounds Blog commented on a recent study about Dr. Bashshur and colleagues treating patients with Avastin using a protocol similar to the use of Lucentis in PrONTO.

As stated above, in addition to commenting on the Avastin vs. Lucentis controversy, I have been reporting on the approach and start of the CATT Study, funded by NIH, that will compare the two drugs head to head. Menu 8 contains information on the first three writeups on CATT, while this Menu includes Updates 4 through 6.

CATT Study Update 4: Avastin vs. Lucentis Study Ready to Roll

On the eve of the 2007 AAO Meeting, the UPenn website updated it’s information about the study, describing what AMD is and why the CATT Study was important.

CATT Study Update 5: First Official Listing of Clinical Trial Sites

The NIH finally listed the CATT Study on its website, including the first 17 clinical sites of the expected 45 to participate.

CATT Study Update 6: Official Announcement of Trial Start from NEI

The NEI/NIH issued a press release of the official start of the CATT Study. The announcement included a list of the 47 participating clinics, located at 57 sites.

NeoVista Epi-Retinal Strontium 90 Treatment for AMD: Update 2

As noted above, at the 2007 AAO Meeting NeoVista provided the one-year results from its feasability study. That study led to the more formal CARBERNET study of its Epi-Retinal use of Strontium 90 in treating AMD. CABERNET was started in June 2007.

And, finally, a first in-depth report on the Ellex 2RT Retina Regeneration program.

Ellex 2RT Retina Regeneration Therapy: A First Report

A description of what the treatment is, how it started and its potential applications in treating retinal diseases.