A new drug, which could treat both diabetic macular oedema (DMO) and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is in clinical trials in America.
The early-stage study, of the drug known as 'SF0166', will primarily monitor how well the patient groups tolerate the drug.
It is being trialled on a group of 40 patients with DMO and a further group of patients with AMD.
A key feature of the new pharmaceutical, which was developed by pharmaceutical company SciFluor Life Sciences, is that it is able to reach the retina in high concentrations when used topically – in contrast to current anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs that must be injected.
SciFluor’s vice president of research, Dr Ben Askew, told Optometry Today that: “Getting something to the back of the eye is the challenge.”
Patients will either receive a low, high or no dosage of the medication, which they will administer themselves for 28 days. The DMO study is expected to conclude in February, with the results to follow.
Dr Askew outlined that ‘SF0166’ works by interrupting the body’s response to the “abnormal signals” of DMO and wet AMD, which the eye interprets as a lack of oxygen.
He highlighted that, if successful, the drug could be used to complement or even replace current therapies.
“This is fairly early stage in terms of clinical trials but we’re cautiously optimistic that this will offer a real advantage,” he concluded.