February 16, 2006
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
UMDNJ Researchers Seek Participants for Vision Study
- February is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month -
NEWARK)—Men and women who have been diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration may be eligible for a study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that is designed to test the effectiveness of a new medication.
February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month.
AMD affects the macula, which is the central part of the retina that provides the precise vision needed to read, to drive or recognize faces. The disease can cause patients to develop distorted central vision; some patients may also have a blind spot in the central vision. Wet AMD, one type of the disease, is the most frequent cause of serious vision loss. Patients with wet AMD have tiny, abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina, which often bleed, causing retinal scarring and progressive loss of central vision.
The UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School is one of 125 sites nationwide participating in this Phase III study to compare the effectiveness of two doses of Lucentis, a medication manufactured by Genentech Inc., the sponsor of the study. While 5,000 wet AMD patients are being recruited nationally for the study, researchers at the Institute for Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark will treat at least 40 patients, who are over age 50, during the one-year period of the study.
"Previous research indicates this medication may be substantially better than anything that has come before it," said Dr. Marco Zarbin, the principal investigator of the study, chairman and professor of ophthalmology at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. "Patients who are diagnosed with wet AMD in the early stages are ideal candidates for this study. We hope that Lucentis will help properly selected patients retain and, in some cases, restore good vision."
Following a routine eye examination and screening, patients who wish to participate and who are eligible for the study will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Members of group one will receive 0.5 milligrams of Lucentis and members of the second group will receive a slightly lower dosage, 0.3 milligrams. The treatment is administered by a retina surgeon and monitored throughout the course of the study. This medication, which was developed in collaboration with Novartis Ophthalmics, has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information about the study, call Dr. Zarbin, at 973-972-2036 or 973-972-2038.
To learn more about AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, contact Prevent Blindness America, of Chicago at 800-331-2020, at www.preventblindness.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.