An international study including researchers from
the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) has
found a way to slow the progression of dry
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - one of the
most common causes of vision loss in people over the
age of 50.
The Phase 2 clinical trial (known as the FILLY
trial) was sponsored by Apellis Pharmaceuticals and
included 246 patients across 40 testing sites, seven
of which were in Australia.
Principal Investigator Robyn Guymer from CERA and
the University of Melbourne says she is delighted
with the results.
“In the past decade, we have made tremendous
advances in treating one of the late complications
of AMD which is called wet AMD, where blood vessels
leak in the back of the eye and destroy vision
rapidly,” Professor Guymer says.
“Now we are directing our attention to treating the
other irreversible late complication of AMD, called
dry AMD or geographic atrophy (GA).”
Dry AMD or GA is a condition where the cells in the
retina die slowly over many years, eventually
leading to irreversible loss of vision.
“It is like having moth eaten holes in your vision
and they slowly all join up in the middle part of
the vision, destroying the ability to read, drive
and recognizing faces,” Professor Guymer says.
Apellis Pharmaceuticals developed a new compound
called APL-2 for treating these patients with GA.
Patients were given injections either monthly or
every other month for 12 months, resulting in a
reduction in GA lesion growth of 29 per cent and 20
per cent respectively, compared to control patients.
Additionally, in a post hoc analysis, a greater
effect was observed during the second six months of
the study: a reduction in GA lesion growth rate of
47 per cent with monthly administration, and a
reduction of 33 per cent with every other month
Based on these positive results, Apellis plans to
proceed with Phase 3 studies as soon as possible.
For more information
The University of Melbourne