by Dan Roberts
September 27, 1999
A new anti-angiogenesis agent called PKC 412 has halted abnormal growth of retinal blood vessels which cause vision loss in macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. It is made by Novartis Ltd. Pharmaceuticals, and much of the lab work is being done by Dr. Peter Campochiaro, professor of ophthalmology and neuroscience at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. PKC 412 has completely stopped the growth of blood vessels in experimental animal models, and human clinical trials will hopefully begin in the year 2000.
The results of Dr. Campochiaro’s work were published in the June issue of the American Journal of Pathology. In a statement to the Boston Globe on June 10, 1999, he said that, “While results in mice do not necessarily predict the effectiveness of a treatment in humans, this is the first drug I’ve seen that has a knock-your-socks-off kind of effect.”
PKC 412 blocks chemicals in the body that foster new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), causing vision loss in the macula. The drug promises to be an effective treatment for wet macular degeneration, the most devastating form of the disease affecting about 10% of MD patients.