What progress has been made in research for the treatment of AMD?
AMD is the primary cause of visual disability in people aged over 50. The disease affects 8% of the population in France, a rate which increases sharply with age. Given that life expectancy is expanding, incidence of AMD should continue to rise, which makes research into treatment even more vital.
Current treatment options for AMD
Treatment for AMD has advanced considerably over the last ten years, notably thanks to the first anti-VEGF intravitreal injections, which began in 2005.
The use of ranibizumab and aflibercept is increasingly common, especially since these treatments are now covered by state health insurance in France, under the special status of “exception drugs”.
Despite a temporary recommendation for use (RTU) from the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Product Safety (ANSM), the drug bevacizumab is less widely used.
Hopes for the treatment of exudative AMD
Research is ongoing to find more effective treatments for AMD. Researchers are notably working on new anti-VEGF medications that should offer longer-lasting effects than their predecessors: faricimab is being developed by ROCHE laboratories and KSI 301 by KODIAK laboratories.
These products are currently the subject of a phase III study for the purpose of AMD treatment.
A reservoir of ranibizumab is also being evaluated in a phase III study but there is greater uncertainty about patients’ tolerance of the product in the medium and long term.
What is the situation regarding atrophic AMD?
Atrophic AMD is also the subject of extensive studies. These are based on two molecules that are undergoing phase III trials: one is being studied by the APELLIS laboratory and another by the IVERIC laboratory, for intravitreal injections every four or eight weeks.
While the studies are still ongoing, the situation looks promising thanks to positive results obtained during the phase II studies.
There is, however, still a lot of work to be done before there can be real hope for registration with the health authorities.