The combination of drug and laser has proved to be effective to treat Diabetic blindness

Posted by Haripriya Munipalli on Thu, Nov 1, 2012  
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A research study was conducted with the drug Ranibizumab accompanied by laser therapy for the treatment of Diabetic macular edema. This combination was found to be improving the vision in the people suffering from the Diabetic macular edema. According to a news story that was published in April, 2010 in LosAngeles Times, the researchers could detect a novel treatment method for the diabetic macular edema. This disorder has affected nearly one million Americans by 2010. The treatment of this vision disorder by a drug known as Ranibizumab accompanied by laser phototherapy is more effective in reversing the loss of vision than when the laser therapy alone was used. The blood vessel leakage in retina was treated by Laser therapy and the results of the treatment were published in the Journal called Ophthalmology.


According to LosAngeles Times, the improvement of vision was observed in about 50 percent of people treated with both the drug as well as photo therapy while the percentage of people who has improved their vision due to phototherapy alone was only 28. Further worsening of vision happened in about five percent of patients having undergone both the therapies compared to 14 percent of patients who have undergone only phototherapy. The drug Ranibizumab is known by its brand name Lucentis, which is permitted for the treatment of macular degeneration.


Macular edema is one form of Diabetic retinopathy that usually results in loss of vision in working Americans. It is known to be caused by the small blood vessel leakage in the Retina which is otherwise called as light-sensitive region of the eye. The center portion of the Retina called macula is accumulated with fluid and this condition is called as macular edema. The pressure inside the eye increases further causing damage to the eye cells which further damages the vision. Macula is seen as the important part of Retina that helps the person while driving, reading and recognizing the faces. Macular edema can cause severe damages to the Retina and prevent the person from doing all the above activities.


Ranibizumab is the drug that is manufactured by the Biotech Company called as Genentech. It is a form of monoclonal antibody which binds to the molecule in a specific pattern. This monoclonal antibody when injected into the eye will reduce the blood vessel leakage by inhibiting the hormone receptor called vascular endothelial growth factor.


The above study was carried out by the Dr. Neil M. Bressler and his team in the Wilmer Eye institute of the John Hopkins University. Dr. Bressler said that this research will have major impact on the treatment options of the ophthalmologists in treating macular edema in patients with Diabetes. The research team made its study on 691 diabetic patients gathered from 52 clinical centers. These patients were grouped into four different categories like those receiving Ranibizumab and timely Laser treatment, those receiving drug with delayed Laser treatment, those receiving Laser therapy plus a steroid called triamcinolone and those receiving Laser therapy with sham injection.


After a year of follow up, 50 percent of those receiving the drug Ranibizumab could show improvement in their vision of two lines in the vision chart than during the study beginning irrespective of whether the Laser treatment was early or late.


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