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1
	
  
	
  
Therapeutic	
  intervention	
  for	
  
age	
  related	
  macular	
  
degeneration	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Nicholas	...
2
Therapeutic	
  intervention	
  for	
  age	
  related	
  macular	
  
degeneration	
  
	
  
	
  
Introduction	
  
	
  
Age...
3
Pathogenesis	
  
	
  
Age	
  related	
  changes	
  to	
  the	
  macula	
  can	
  be	
  viewed	
  as	
  a	
  progression....
4
Treatment	
  
	
  
	
  
Aetiology	
  
The	
  main	
  risk	
  factor	
  for	
  AMD	
  is	
  age35
.	
  Studies	
  have	
 ...
5
Laser	
  Photocoagulation	
  	
  
This	
  was	
  the	
  first	
  laser-­‐based	
  treatment	
  used	
  for	
  neovascula...
6
Laser	
  Photodynamic	
  therapy	
  
Laser	
  photocoagulation	
  causes	
  irreversible,	
  non-­‐specific	
  thermal	
...
7
Anti	
  VEGF	
  
	
  
Vascular	
  Endothelial	
  Growth	
  Factor	
  A	
  (VEGF-­‐A)	
  is	
  a	
  key	
  regulatory	
  ...
8
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
The	
  “Anti	
  –VEGF	
  Antibody	
  for	
  t...
9
Future	
  anti-­‐angiogenic	
  therapies	
  
	
  
	
  
Fusion	
  proteins	
  
These	
  proteins	
  are	
  formed	
  by	
...
10
Complement	
  
Drusen	
  contain	
  many	
  complement	
  and	
  complement	
  related	
  proteins,	
  research	
  has	...
11
Treatments	
  –	
  GA	
  
Due	
  to	
  progress	
  made	
  in	
  treating	
  the	
  “wet”	
  aspects	
  of	
  AMD,	
  r...
12
References	
  
	
  
1.	
   Absent	
  from	
  final	
  version	
  
	
  
2.	
   Avery	
  RL,	
  Pieramici	
  DJ,	
  Raben...
13
13.	
   Hutchinson	
  J,	
  Tay	
  W.	
  Symmetrical	
  central	
  choroido-­‐retinal	
  disease	
  occurring	
  in	
  ...
14
25.	
   Van	
  Wijngaarden	
  P,	
  Coster	
  DJ,	
  Williams	
  KA.	
  Inhibitors	
  of	
  ocular	
  
neovascularizati...
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macular degeneration therapy

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macular degeneration therapy

  1. 1. 1     Therapeutic  intervention  for   age  related  macular   degeneration         Nicholas  G.  P.  Harper         MDEMO     29/03/2010  –  02/06/2010     Word  count:  1995         Candidate  No.  21019     Tutor:  Mr  Kesavan  Ramanujam           “This  project  is  all  my  own  work  unless  otherwise  stated.  All  text,  figures,  tables,  data  or   results  which  are  not  my  own  work  are  indicated  and  the  sources  acknowledged.”    
  2. 2. 2 Therapeutic  intervention  for  age  related  macular   degeneration       Introduction     Age  related  macular  degeneration  was  first  described  in  1874  as  a  “symmetrical   central  choroido-­‐retinal  disease  occurring  in  senile  persons”13 .  Today,  it  is  widely   recognised  as  one  of  the  leading  causes  of  blindness  in  the  developed  world19 .  AMD   mainly  affects  the  elderly,  with  a  prevalence  of  15%  for  those  80  years  or  older8 .  This   figure  is  projected  to  increase  by  50%  over  the  next  10  years,  in  line  with  the  aging   population21 .     The macula is the area of the retina that contains the highest density of photoreceptors. It is this area that is responsible for high-resolution vision, enabling us to see fine detail crucial for reading and recognising face     Clinical  features     Progressive  loss  of  central  vision   • Decrease  in  visual  acuity   • Blurring   • Central  scotomas   • Decreased  contrast  sensitivity   • Decreased  colour  discrimination     Sparing  of  peripheral  vision  -­‐  The  area  of  the  retina  surrounding  the   macula  is  responsible  for  peripheral  vision  important  for  navigation.  As  this  is  largely   spared  in  AMD,  patients  are  usually  able  to  maintain  independent  lifestyles.                   Fig 1. A representation of the vision experienced by patients with AMD. (From 31)
  3. 3. 3 Pathogenesis     Age  related  changes  to  the  macula  can  be  viewed  as  a  progression.  Until  there  is   visual  impairment,  they  are  classified  as  an  age  related  maculopathy.  Past  this  point,   they  are  referred  to  as  age  related  macular  degeneration.  It  is  important  to  note  that   this  is  a  distinction  based  purely  on  function  rather  than  pathogenesis.         Drusen   The  principal  feature  of  AMD  is  the  deposition  of   drusen  between  the  retinal  pigment  epithelium  and   Bruch’s  membrane.  The  word  Druse  is  derived  from  the   German,  meaning  Geode  (a  crystal  lined  rock).  They  are   visible  on  opthalmoscopy  when  ≥25um  and  appear  as   yellow/white  dots  within  the  macula.           Geographic  atrophy  (GA)     • Atrophy  of  the  retinal  pigment  epithelium   • Causes  visual  loss  in  affected  areas               Choroidal  neovascularisation  (CNV)     • New  vessel  growth  within  the  choroid.  This   can  lead  to  many  complications  including:   subretinal  fluid,  hemorrhage,  retinal   detachment  and  fibrotic  scars.     • Present  in  10%  of  patients  with  AMD   • Referred  to  as  “wet”  AMD       Fig 4. A.) Fundus photograph. B.) fluorescein  angiogram  showing   vascular  leakage.  (From  30) Fig 2. From 34 Fig 3. From 33 A B
  4. 4. 4 Treatment       Aetiology   The  main  risk  factor  for  AMD  is  age35 .  Studies  have  however  consistently  found   associations  between  AMD  and  smoking.  Zanke  et  al  (2010)  reports  that  current   smokers  are  3.14  times  more  likely  to  develop  geographic  atrophy  or  choroidal   neovascularisation  compared  to  non-­‐smokers35 .       On  the  grounds  of  this  research,  all  patients  with  AMD  should  be  advised  to  stop   smoking.  Research  has  also  pointed  to  obesity,  hypertension,  high  fat  intake  and  low   dietary  antioxidant  intake  as  further  modifiable  risk  factors  for  AMD14 .     Treating  -­‐  CNV   Although  only  present  in  about  10%  of  people  with  AMD,  choroidal   neovascularisation  accounts  for  80%  of  all  severe  visual  loss  caused  by  AMD7 .  Due  to   this  huge  impact  on  vision  and  the  fact  that  pathological  angiogenesis  occurs  in   many  disease  processes,  this  is  the  area  of  AMD  research  that  has  seen  the  most   progress.  The  following  are  some  of  the  methods  developed  for  halting  this  process.     Vitreoretinal  surgery     Surgical  methods  for  removing  CNV  have  been  described  since  the  1980s11 .  To   investigate  their  effectiveness,  the  Submacular  Surgery  Trials  (SST)  carried  out  3   RCTs  between  1997  and  2003.  Unfortunately,  results  showed  that  after  24  months,   there  was  no  difference  in  visual  acuity  between  surgical  treatment  and   observation11 .     For  subfoveal  neovascular  AMD,  a  method  has  since  been  developed  where  instead   of  removing  the  vessels  themselves,  the  fovea  is  moved  to  an  area  free  from  CNV.   This  macular  translocation  has  shown  positive  results  in  a  small  study  in  which  50%   of  treated  patients  experienced  a  1  line  improvement  in  visual  acuity  at  12  months   26 .  Due  to  the  invasive  nature  and  only  mild  improvements  gained  from  this   procedure,  it  is  not  considered  routine  treatment.                      
  5. 5. 5 Laser  Photocoagulation     This  was  the  first  laser-­‐based  treatment  used  for  neovascular  AMD.  The  aim  was  to   use  a  laser  to  coagulate  the  newly  formed  choroidal  vessels.     The  Macular  Photocoagulation  Study  Group   carried  out  a  number  of  clinical  trials  between   1979  and  199417 .  They  showed  that   compared  to  patients  treated  with  laser   photocoagulation,  untreated  patients  had  a   1.2-­‐1.5  relative  risk  of  significant  visual   deterioration.  (Results  summarised  in  fig  6).   There  are  however  serious  limitations  to  this   treatment:         1. The  laser  creates  a  burn  that  destroys  vision  in  that  area  of  the  retina.  As   such,  this  treatment  is  only  appropriate  when  the  neovascularisation  is   outside  the  central  area  of  the  macula.  Only  10-­‐15%  of  patients  with  CNV   were  suitable  for  this  treatment17 .   2. Inadvertent  coagulation  of  the  fovea  (rare)   3. Subretinal  Haemorrhage   4. At  2  years,  >50%  of  the  patients  had  a  recurrence  of  neovascularisation17 .                                               Fig 6. Relative risk of visual loss in photocoagulation treated vs observed patients for A.) All patients with extrafoveal lesion, B.) New subfoveal lesions C.) Recurrent subfoveal lesions. (From 28) Fig 5. Retinal scars produced by photocoagulation. (From 32) A C B
  6. 6. 6 Laser  Photodynamic  therapy   Laser  photocoagulation  causes  irreversible,  non-­‐specific  thermal  damage.  In  the  aim   of  minimising  this  retinal  damage,  the  method  of  laser  photodynamic  therapy  (PDT)   was  developed  in  the  late  1990s:     A  light  sensitive  dye,  which  concentrates  in  newly  formed  vessels,  is  injected  into  the   patient.  when  excited  by  laser  light  of  a  specific  wavelength,  the  dye  undergoes  a   reaction,  causing  selective  chemical  destruction  of  those  vessels.       The  groundbreaking  “treatment  of  age  related  macular  degeneration  with   photodynamic  therapy”  (TAP)  study  used  a  verteporfin  (Visudyne)  as  their  light   sensitive  dye24 .  Results  showed  that  photodynamic  treatment  lead  to  a  significant   improvement  in  visual  acuity,  contrast  sensitivity  and  retinal  appearance  under   fluorescein  angiography  compared  to  placebo  treated  patients  at  1  and  2  years   follow  up24 .  Side  effects  included  transient  visual  disturbances  (18%),  an  adverse   reaction  at  the  injection  site  (13%)  and  transient  photosensitivity  (3%)24 .  This  TAP   study  lead  to  the  FDA’s  approval  of  verteporfin  photodynamic  therapy  in  2000.       The  main  drawback  of  photodynamic  therapy  is  that  for  macular  lesions  in  which   CNV  accounted  for  <50%  of  the  total,  PDT  showed  no  significant  benefit  in  any  of  the   measured  outcome  variables24 .                                                     Fig  7.  A  typical  patient  from  the  TAP  study  -­‐  Fundus  photographs  and  late-­‐phase  fluorescein   angiograms  taken  at  baseline  (A,B),  3  months  (C&D)  and  12  months  (E,F),  during  the  12  month   course  of  verteporfin  PDT  therapy.  Therapy  was  applied  every  3  months.  Images  clearly  show  an   improvement  in  fundus  appearance,  with  no  deterioration  in  vascular  leakage.  (From  24)  
  7. 7. 7 Anti  VEGF     Vascular  Endothelial  Growth  Factor  A  (VEGF-­‐A)  is  a  key  regulatory  cytokine  in  the   process  of  angiogenesis.  As  well  as  being  researched  extensively  in  the  fields  of   oncology  and  cardiology,  it  has  been  shown  to  have  a  central  role  in  neovascular   ocular  diseases20 .     Pegaptanib   The  first  anti-­‐VEGF  agent  shown  to  be  effective  in  AMD  was  pegaptanib  (Macugen),   a  ribonucleic  acid  aptamer  that  prevents  VEGF  from  binding  to  its  receptor.       The  “VEGF  Inhibition  Study  in  Ocular  Neovascularization  Clinical  Trial  Group”  found   pegaptanib  to  be  effective  in  70%  of  patients,  with  the  risk  of  severe  loss  in  visual   acuity  12%  lower  in  pegaptanib  treated  patients  compared  to  controls10 .  They  also   observed  a  43%  increase  in  the  number  of  patients  who  had  maintained  or  gained   visual  acuity  after  the  1  year  duration  of  the  study10 .  Unlike  photodynamic  therapy,   this  treatment  was  found  to  be  effective  in  neovascular  AMD  independently  of   precise  lesion  composition.  On  the  basis  of  these  results  pegaptanib  became  the  first   FDA  licensed  anti-­‐angiogenic  therapy  for  AMD  in  2004.     Bevacizumab   VEGF  can  also  be  silenced  effectively  using  monoclonal  antibodies.  Genentech  had   indeed  already  developed  bevacizumab  (Avastin),  an  anti  VEGF  antibody  for  the   treatment  of  colon  cancer.  Although  still  only  indicated  for  colon  cancer,  several   small-­‐uncontrolled  pilot  studies  have  reported  improved  visual  outcome  and   decreased  macular  oedema  when  used  for  AMD2,  22,  25 .  On  the  grounds  of  these   results  and  its  low  cost,  bevacizumab  is  being  increasingly  used  off  label  for  the   treatment  of  neovascular  AMD.  Due  to  a  lack  of  large  trials,  it  is  still  however  unclear   as  to  its  safety  and  the  most  effective  method  and  timing  of  administration.       Ranibizumab   In  trying  to  develop  the  most  effective  monoclonal  antibody  treatment  for  AMD,   Genentech  developed  ranibizumab  (Lucentis).  Essentially  the  antigen-­‐binding   fragment  of  bevacizumab,  engineered  to  have  an  even  higher  affinity  for  VEGF.  The   first  RCT  to  assess  the  effectiveness  of  this  treatment  was  the  “Minimally   Classic/Occult  Trial  of  the  Anti-­‐VEGF  Antibody  ranibizumab  in  the  Treatment  of   Neovascular  Age-­‐  Related  Macular  Degeneration  (MARINA)”.  Results  showed  that   after  24  months,  on  average,  ranibizumab  treated  patients  gained  6.5  letters  of   visual  acuity,  whereas  sham  injected  patients  lost  10.4  letters23 .  Endopthalmitis  was   observed  in  1%  of  treated  patients  and  uveitis  in  1.3%.            
  8. 8. 8                               The  “Anti  –VEGF  Antibody  for  the  Treatment  of  Predominantly  Classic  Choroidal   Neovascularization  in  Age  –  related  Macular  Degeneration  (ANCHOR)  study  went  on   to  compare  the  effectiveness  of  ranibizumab  against  verteporfin  PDT4 .  Results   showed  that  fewer  Ranibizumab  patients  experienced  15  letters  visual  loss  (RR  0.13,   NNT  3.33)  and  more  patients  experienced  visual  gain  (RR  6.79)4 .     The  2008  Cochrane  review  comparing  pegaptanib,  ranibizumab  and  verteporfin  PDT   concluded  that  whilst  all  three  significantly  decrease  visual  loss,  ranibizumab  is  most   likely  to  actually  cause  an  improvement  in  visual  acuity27 .     Cost  effectiveness     As  can  be  seen  from  Table  1,  there  is  a  large  discrepancy  in  price  for  these   treatments.  NICE  analysis  of  the  incremental  cost  effectiveness  ratio  (ICER)  per   quality  adjusted  life  year  (QALY)  found  Ranibizumab  to  be  more  cost  effective  than   pergaptanib18 .  As  a  result,  NICE  have  decided  not  to  recommend  the  use  of   Pegaptanib  for  neovascular  AMD18 .  Note  that  Bevacizumab  could  not  be  included  in   this  analysis  due  to  not  being  licensed  for  AMD  and  therefore  a  lack  of  data.       Therapeutic   Cost   Bevacizumab   £1.21  (a)   Pegaptanib   £514.00   Ranibizumab   £761.20                 Table 1. net prices of the anti-angiogenic drugs3 . (a) Based on using the same dose (500ug) as for ranibizumab. Month Fig 8. Mean changes in visual acuity against time for ranibizumab (0.5mg & 0.3mg) and sham injection. (From 23)
  9. 9. 9 Future  anti-­‐angiogenic  therapies       Fusion  proteins   These  proteins  are  formed  by  replacing  the  stop  codon  at  the  end  of  one  gene  with   the  DNA  from  another.  The  resultant  hybrid  gene  is  inserted  into  bacteria  and  the   protein  product  collected.  This  technique  has  been  used  to  combine  the  binding   domains  of  several  VEGF  receptors  with  human  Immunuloglobulin  G  to  produce  a   protein  that  will  tightly  bind  and  effectively  inactivate  VEGF12 .  This  therapeutic,  aptly   named  VEGF  Trap  produced  promising  results  in  phase  II  clinical  trials  (Fig  9.)  with  no   reported  adverse  effects6 .  Phase  III  Clinical  trials  comparing  VEGF  Trap  to   Ranibizumab  were  initiated  in  2007  and  are  due  to  be  completed  in  December   201129 .                                                 Anti  VEGF  therapeutics  also  under  research  include,  Angiostatic  cortisenes,  RNA   interference  agents,  Aminosterols  and  further  anti  VEGF  antibodies.       Treatments  –  Drusen   Drusen  only  cause  visual  loss  If  they  are  larger  than  125um  or  are  present  in   extremely  large  numbers21 .  With  this  said,  they  are  present  to  some  degree  in   almost  all  patients  with  AMD  and  may  represent  an  early  part  of  a  more  complex   pathogenic  pathway  leading  to  GA  and  CNV.     Fig 9. Results from Phase II Clinical trial comparing VEGF Trap against laser photocoagulation for neovascular AMD (ref). Graphs to show A.) Mean change in visual acuity (Gain in ETDRS letters) against time in study. B.) Mean change in central retinal thickness against time in study. (From 6)
  10. 10. 10 Complement   Drusen  contain  many  complement  and  complement  related  proteins,  research  has   therefore  targeted  this  pathway  to  try  and  determine  a  method  of  halting  their   development.  Many  complement  pathway  genes  have  since  been  linked  to  AMD.   These  include9 :                   With  this  in  mind,  it  could  be  possible  to  stop  drusen  formation  by  designing   therapeutics  that  will  target  these  pathways.  Fig  10.  summarises  those  currently  in   development                                                                 • CFH   • CFB     • CFHR1     • C2     • CFHR2     • C3     Fig 10. A). The complement system. B). The actions of some of the many therapeutics currently under development. Compstatin and eculizumab are currently in Phase 2 clinical trials29 . (From 9)
  11. 11. 11 Treatments  –  GA   Due  to  progress  made  in  treating  the  “wet”  aspects  of  AMD,  research  into   therapeutics  for  geographic  atrophy  has  become  somewhat  overshadowed.   Although  there  are  currently  no  licensed  drugs  for  geographic  atrophy,  there  are   numerous  therapeutics  currently  undergoing  clinical  trials29 .     Drug   Mechanism   Clinical  trial   phase   Estimated  completion   Tandospirone   (AL-­‐8309B)   Neuroprotective  by  inhibiting  oxidative  stress   within  the  retinal  pigment  epithelium  (RPE)   III   February  2012   Alprostadil   Prostaglandin  E1  –  has  a  vasodilatory  effect  that   is  hoped  will  increase  blood  flow  to  atrophic   areas  and  slow/halt  disease  progression.   III   Terminated  as  study   was  under  powered.   Currently  re-­‐planning   Fenretinide   Retinol  metabolism  within  the  eye  creates   lipofuscin  and  A2E,  which  can  cause  damage  to   the  RPE.  Fenretindie  binds  Retinol  Binding   Protein,  decreasing  serum  retinol   concentrations.  This  reduces  retinol  uptake  by   the  RPE  and  therefore  damage.   II   June  2010   NT501   Implant  of  human  cells  genetically  modified  to   release  Ciliary  Neurotrophic  Factor  (CNTF),  a   neuroprotective  agent  shown  to  inhibit   photoreceptor  apoptosis.   II   unknown   Brimonidine   Neuroprotective   II   December  2011   OT551   Antioxidant,  anti-­‐inflammatory  and  anti-­‐ angiogenic.  Phase  II  results  are  encouraging   II   Completed             Conclusion       Much  progress  has  been  made  in  developing  therapeutics  for  this  potentially  sight   threatening  disease.  Drugs  targeting  drusen  and  GA  are  in  advanced  clinical  trials   and  with  the  new  anti-­‐VEGF  agents  we  are  now  in  a  position  to  give  real  benefit  to   patients  with  CNV.  The  prevalence  of  age  related  macular  degeneration  will  continue   to  increase  in  line  with  the  aging  population.  In  order  that  everyone  can  access  this   treatment  however,  pharmaceutical  companies  need  to  recognise  the  need  to  lower   their  prices.       Table 2. Summary of therapeutics for GA currently undergoing phase II and III clinical trials29 .
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