Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Treatment Stabilizes Vision in Individuals with Dry AMD

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Treatment Stabilizes Vision in Individuals with Dry AMD

Article excerpt

An innovative technology that employs a tiny capsule implanted in the eye has been found to stabilize the vision of people with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness for older people in developed countries. Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT), developed by Rhode Island-based Neurotech, preserved vision in a majority of the 51 people who participated in a phase II clinical trial. Neurotech reported that, over a 12-month period, 96.3 percent of participants receiving the high-dose treatment lost fewer than three lines of vision, or 15 letters, versus 75 percent of the patients in the placebo or "sham" group. In addition, participants with a visual acuity of 20/63 or better at the start of the trial appeared to benefit most from the treatment. Individuals whose vision was stabilized also had an increased thickening of their retinas--an indication that the treatment was increasing the health and population of photoreceptors, which are essential for vision.

The ECT intraocular implant is a small device--the size of a grain of rice--containing cells that provide sustained delivery of a vision-preserving protein known as ciliary neurotrophic factor, which is delivered directly to the back of the eye in a controlled, continuous basis, thus bypassing the blood-retinal barrier and overcoming a major obstacle in the treatment of retinal disease. …

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