Lucentis effective for proliferative diabetic retinopathy

The National Eye Institute is very pleased
today to announce new clinical trial results that will benefit
people at risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
The trial demonstrates that injections of the drug Lucentis are effective in treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or PDR.
I think this study will have a major impact on the treatment of PDR. I think you will over time see a number of physicians go away from the standard of treatment, which up until now has been the laser, and use the Lucentis treatment for these patients. What is proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or PDR? Diabetic retinopathy is a very important disease that affects the back of the eye – the tissue that is known as the retina. The retina is a very
complicated tissue and requires a great deal of blood supply.
With diabetes the blood supply sometimes goes awry and you don’t have enough nutrition to the retina. So the retina makes
blood vessels That’s known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. And they can cause bleeding and ultimately retinal
detachment. All Patients who have diabetes are at risk to
develop proliferative disease. What is laser or panretinal photocoagulation? Around the late 1960s and early 1970s, laser was
invented as a tool for patients who had eye disease. Panretinal photocoagulation, where we basically destroy the peripheral
retina was effective In stopping blindness from proliferative diabetic retinopathy. So, it’s been a revolutionary treatment in
preserving vision, but it comes at a cost. And that cost has
been one that we’ve had to deal with for the last 50 years. It’s
the destruction of the peripheral retina, which causes decreased side vision and decreased night vision. What is Lucentis, or Ranibizumab? Lucentis is an antibody, which when injected into the eye, bonds to VEGF. And in proliferative diabetic retinopathy
you have an excess production of this protein, of the VEGF, that
stimulates the growth of blood vessels that should not be
growing in the back of the eye. It became apparent that we could
close the abnormal blood vessels that led to blindness without
having to destroy the peripheral retina.What are Lucentis injections
like? This is probably the most common procedure that we do for
any retinal disease today. The first injection is always…you
know, you’re very nervous but um Dr. Elman was very efficient,
very good, they numb your eye very well. And he says look
over there and then he’s Says well I’m done. What were the results? What
the study showed was that the Lucentis injections were at least
as good as laser And in some ways it was better. And uh it
was well tolerated. In patients who are going to be getting the injections
anyhow because they have swelling or edema in the center
of vision it’s an obvious choice to give them the injections and not
to do laser. What is the DRCR Network?The DRCR Network
stands for Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. It
brings together scientific investigators in the academic setting
and private practice, utilizing resources that are set
in place through the gracious funding of the federal government,
through the NIH. We now have two proven treatments that can
control the potentially blinding blood vessels of proliferative diabetic
retinopathy. For more information, visit

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