By: Jeffry D. Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O. & Joshua Mali, M.D- Medical Directors for the Macular Degeneration Association
The current standard treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye injection of anti-VEGF medication which typically involves injections at regular intervals and on an on-going basis. Although these injections are generally painless, there is “inconvenience” involved in treatment that is needed every four – twelve weeks. Since wet AMD is a chronic disease, it is important to discover a way to lengthen the time between treatments to make them less of a burden for the patient and the caregiver.
In a recent press release a member of the Roche Group, Genetech released data from their Archway study featuring their Port Delivery System (PDS) with ranibizumab. PDS is a permanent refillable eye implant that continuously delivers the prescribed drug over a period of months and therefore reduces the treatment burden. The implant is approximately the size of a grain of rice.
In this Archway study, 98.4% of patients were able to extend additional treatments to six months. Using the PDS the number of annual treatments could possibly change from twelve to only two. Based on the study, it is believed that the PDS may be effective, reliable, and alleviate treatment burden. Vision gained in the PDS group was about the same as in those patients receiving monthly injections. Even with the need for the PDS to be surgically implanted it was found to be safe compared to monthly injections.
These implications for patients are real and significant. The need for less frequent injections will be a welcome relief for many. Ongoing monitoring with an eyecare provider will still be crucial since not all patients studied were able to go six months without requiring further intervention. Overall, this is a very positive development in the fight against vision loss in wet AMD. Although the PDS is not currently FDA approved, hopefully, we can welcome this into our armamentarium in the near future.
- Phase III data show Roche’s Port Delivery System with ranibizumab enabled over 98% of patients to go six months between treatments for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Roche Press Release. July 22, 2020. https://www.roche.com/media/releases/med-cor-2020-07-22b.htm