Do you, a parent, or a grandparent have Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)? Have you experienced loss of central vision? Has your loss of vision been rapid?
Wet ARMD is the more visually debilitating type of ARMD, also referred to as Exudative ARMD. This type is characterized by the formation of Choroidal Neovascularization, which is formation of new, fragile blood vessels under the Retina.
These new blood vessels can leak fluid or blood and cause a precipitous loss of central vision. A growing body of evidence suggests that Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A plays an important role in the development of Neovascularization and the vessel leakage that leads to central vision loss.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A has been observed in increased levels in pigment epithelial cells during the early stages of ARMD as well as in the removed Neovascular Membranes from ARMD patients as well as in the Vitreous of patients with CNVMs.
Like Ranibuzumab (Lucentis®), Bevacizumab (Avastin®; Genentech, San Francisco, California) binds to all isoforms of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, but differs in size. Avastin® is a full-length humanized Anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody that was FDA approved in 2004 for the treatment of metastatic colorectal carcinoma. It is also used as a chemotherapeutic agent in a number of malignancies.
The term monoclonal is used because this type of antibody comes from only one type of cell, making it highly specific to attack a certain target molecule and thus greatly reduce the side effects that would be caused if healthy cells were being attacked also.
Examples of good results found included:
Avastin® vs. Lucentis® choice to treat Wet ARMD and hopefully the results of the CATT study (Comparison of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment Trials) will help settle the debate.