NIH-funded clinical trial marks first major advance in therapy in 40 years
A clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health has found that the drug ranibizumab (Lucentis) is highly effective in treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The trial, conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) compared Lucentis with a type of laser therapy called panretinal or scatter photocoagulation, which has remained the gold standard for proliferative diabetic retinopathy since the mid-1970s. The findings demonstrate the first major therapy advance in nearly 40 years.
“These latest results from the DRCR Network provide crucial evidence for a safe and effective alternative to laser therapy against proliferative diabetic retinopathy,” said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI), which funded the trial. The results were published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In addition to treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the report suggests Lucentis may even help prevent diabetic macular edema from occurring. Among people without diabetic macular edema at the start of the study, only 9 percent of Lucentis-treated eyes developed diabetic macular edema during the study, compared with 28 percent in the laser group. The DRCR.net will continue to follow patients in this study for a total of five years