Saturday, June 19, 2010

Menu – Part 16: Updates for April to June 2010

Since the last menu posting in late March, I have added three updates on Avastin vs. Lucentis; five updates on AMD topics; one CATT update; and two new postings. One new posting is an update on the Ellex 2RT treatment, including the first clinical results, while the other new posting is about how Lucentis in combination with pan-retinal laser treatment is more effective than laser alone in treating diabetic retinal macular edema.

Here are the recent postings:

Avastin/Lucentis Updates

As reported in the New York Times, as part of the writeup on the use of Lucentis in combination with laser for the treatment of DME, it turned out that Avastin was not used because Genentech “paid” to have only Lucentis used in the study. The full story is presented.

As reported in APM Health Europe, the Brits also want to use Avastin instead of Lucentis in treating AMD. And, the UK’s cost-effectiveness body of NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) is taking the first steps to appraise the off-label use of Avastin to replace Lucentis. A positive opinion on Avastin might just do the trick.

Dr. Phil Rosenfeld of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and three colleagues from CMS have prepared an article showing how Medicare could save more than $500 million annually by using Avastin rather than Lucentis, but top officials at CMS have prevented them from seeking to have the study published in a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. Rosenfeld charges that the agency was trying to suppress the study to avoid antagonizing Genentech. The full story as reported by the WSJ.

AMD Updates

In order to enter the U.S. with its breakthrough 2RT therapy, Ellex announced the sub-licensing of the Latina SRT (selective retinal therapy) patent from Massachusetts General Hospital. Now, both Ellex and Lumenis hold marketing rights to this patent. My writeup of this announcement also includes a table comparing the Lumenis SLT and SRT lasers to Ellex’s 2RT laser.

My writeup of the announcement that Notal Vision’s ForeSeeHome Device would be used in an adjunct study of AREDS2, comparing its use with the Amsler Grid in detecting the progression of dry AMD into the wet (choroidal neovascularization) stage.

Dr. Dante Pieramici wrote an excellent overview of current treatment protocols for treating wet AMD and I received permission from Refractive Eyecare to reproduce it.

I learned about a startup company, On Demand Therapeutics, that was developing a drug reservoir that could be implanted in the back of the eye and use a laser beam to open one pocket of the reservoir to deliver its drug to the retina. Here is their story.

I read about the work being done by scientists at UC Irvine on creating a three-dimensional, eight-layer, early stage retina from human embryonic stem cells. Here is the story, along with a few pictures of what the structure might look like.

CATT Study Update

I have previously written about how the CATT Study finally got started (CATT Study Update 8). The same authors have written another version, how they had to overcome Government bureaucracy in order to get the study approved and started. This article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which refused permission to reproduce it, so I provided a short synopsis and a link to the original online version.

The New Postings

In November 2008, Ellex released the results of its six-month clinical study of its first trial with 2RT. I requested some graphics to accompany the results, but they were never received from John Marshall in London. Finally, in April 2010, along with the announcement of additional pilot studies, of which preliminary results were to be presented at this year’s ARVO Meeting, I was provided with some graphics, and posted the original six-month results.

A news release from the NEI/NIH described how researchers have shown that the combination of retinal lasers used with Lucentis are more effective in improving vision in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy that either lasers or drugs alone. The study’s one-year results were published in Ophthalmology.


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