News, March 2009


News, March 2009

Please click on any of the headlines below to see the full story.

Carbon monoxide lowers IOP
CORM-3, a water-soluble carbon monoxide-releasing molecule, is associated with a intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering in animal models of ocular hypertension, concluded a study published in the January issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology

Stem cells improve PRK
Human corneal epithelial cells, grown in the lab, are being used in preclinical trials, evaluating if it is possible to enhance the photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure, according to a statement from the trial organizer, International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO). 

Accuracy of IOP measurements questioned
Dynamic contour tonometry (DCT) may be more accurate than Goldmann applanation tonometry (GAT) in measuring intraocular pressure (IOP), according to study results published in the February issue of Eye

Young people judge age by eyes
Young adults judge the age and alertness of older people by looking into and around their eyes, concluded a study published in the February issue of Ophthalmology

Antioxidants preserve vision in retinal disease
Consumption of antioxidants may enable retinal degeneration patients to preserve vision even while vascular abnormalities continue to exist, concluded a study published online ahead of print by theJournal of Clinical Investigation

Outdoor activity decreases myopia risk
Spending two to three hours a day outdoors can significantly lower a child’s risk of developing myopia, according to study results published online ahead of print by the British Journal of Ophthalmology

Insulin pens and the blind
Recently, several manufacturers of insulin pens for diabetes treatment have added warnings to the devices, cautioning against their use by visually impaired patients. 

Laser reduces IOP
A laser-based surgical device has been shown during trials to provide a safe, non-penetrating method of reducing intraocular pressure (IOP), according to study results published by the developer of the device, IOPtima Ltd. 


News in brief…

Sutureless vitrectomy riskWhen compared with larger gauge vitrectomy instruments, 20 G tools allow a greater amount of ocular surface fluid to penetrate the vitrectomy wound. This may account for the increased incidence of endophthalmitis cases associated with 20 G surgery. 

Japan approves LucentisLucentis (ranibizumab; Novartis) has been approved for the treatment of wet AMD in Japan. The application for approval in Japan was supported by a clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of the anti-VEGF therapy. Lucentis has been approved in Europe since February 2007. 

Protease treats DMEASP-440 - a protease, developed by ActiveSite Pharmaceuticals and an inhibitor of plase kallikrein - may provide an effective therapeutic treatment for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular oedema (DME). In an animal model, ASP-440 reduced the permeability of the retinal vasculature by up to 70%, and also reduced elevated blood pressure. 

Home glaucoma testGlaucomaCheck, an online visual field test allowing for clinical grade at-home glaucoma screening, has been launched by VisionRx. The test, which provides instant results using the AutoAnalysis system, can be found

Phaco & AMD progressionContrary to previous study findings, a review of 1167 participants in the AREDS study has failed to establish a link between phacoemulsification and AMD progression. The hazard ratios for geographic atrophy and neovascular AMD in eyes that had undergone previous cataract surgery and had no pre-existing advanced AMD were 0.87 and 1.14, respectively. 

Dry eye drug enters Phase IIIInspire Pharmaceuticals has announced that its dry eye candidate, Prolacria(diquafosol tetrasodium ophthalmic solution) 2%, has entered Phase III testing under a Special Protocol Assessment agreed with the FDA. The primary efficacy endpoint is a fluorescein staining score of zero in the central cornea at six weeks. 

Anti-inflammatory trialledESBATech AG's ESBA105, an anti-TNF alpha antibody fragment designed to reduce inflammation in patients undergoing cataract surgery, has begun a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase Ib/IIa trial assessing safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and tolerability. 

Stem cell prizeThe UK's National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS) has awarded its annual £10,000 prize to a Cambridge University project exploring the use of stem cells for treating retina diseases and other ocular conditions, which reduced the number of lab rats used to one-eighth. 

OPKO initiates shunt trialOPKO Health has initiated clinical trials of the Aquashunt, a shunt to treat refractory open-angle glaucoma by providing an exit for excess fluid in the eye, thereby reducing IOP. The Aquashunt has been implanted in the first human patients of its multicentre clinical trials, designed to assess safety and efficacy. 

Glaucoma testing deviceThe TrueField Analyser (Seeing Machines Ltd) glaucoma testing device has been hailed by researchers at the Australian National University as providing a faster, objective and reproducible image, and producing information on the brain and retinal function. The device uses multifocal pupillographic perimetry to measure pupil responses to 88 visual stimuli and monitors these responses on a video camera system. 

VEGF Trap-Eye & DMEA single intravitreal injection of 4.0 mg VEGF Trap-Eye is associated with bioactivity against diabetic macular oedema (DME), reducing mean foveal thickness from 250 µm to 59 µm, and increasing median best corrected visual acuity by nine ETDRS letters at six weeks after injection. No ocular toxicity was observed in study subjects. 

Identifying RNFL defectsConfocal scanning laser microscopy, scanning laser polarimetry and optical coherence tomography identify just 58.8%, 66.7% and 54.9%, respectively, of the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) defects that are visible on colour optic disc photographs. Of the three, scanning laser polarimetry has the highest rate of both false-positives and correct RNFL defect identification. 

Keratitis drug reviewedA New Drug Application (NDA) for ganciclovir ophthalmic gel 0.15% against herpetic keratitis, submitted by Sirion Therapeutics, has been accepted for review by the FDA. The NDA for orphan-designated ganciclovir, currently marketed as Virgan in Europe, has been given an action date of late 2009 by the FDA. 

OptiMedica's donationOptiMedica Corp has donated a PASCAL photocoagulator to non-profit organization ORBIS International, under a new partnership between the two organizations. ORBIS plans to use the photocoagulator onboard its Flying Eye Hospital to train doctors in the developing world to treat retinal disorders, particularly diabetic retinopathy. 

US vision protection lawsThe "Vision Care for Kids" Bill of 2009 has been introduced in the US after being approved both by the Senate and by the House of Representatives. The bill, which attracted bipartisan support, provides $65 million over five years in the form of grants to make comprehensive visual examinations and treatment available to uninsured children across the US. 

Corneal transplant tissueA donor aged ≤32 years, fewer than 7.1 hours between death and preservation, and tissue extraction between the months of December and February will provide the optimum quality of corneal buttons for transplant, concluded a five-year study of 2797 corneal buttons conducted in the Philippines. 


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