New drug candidate is promising therapeutic option for angiogenic retinal diseases

Research models show that a small peptide provents the overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye’s retina – and can be delivered in the form of eye drops


BOSTON – A research team led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine has identified a small molecule that treats animal models of aged macular degeneration (AMD) and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) by preventing the overgrowth of blood vessels that are characteristic of these two retinal diseases.
The new findings, described in today’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, show that this molecule, named Vasotide in this paper, can be delivered in the form of eye drops, a discovery that offers a promising alternative to current therapies for these retinal diseases, which require monthly injections of large molecules directly into the eyeball.
“Angiogenesis, the abnormal overgrowth of blood vessels, underlies many severe diseases, and when angiogenesis develops in the eye’s retina it causes decreased vision and can even lead to blindness,” said the study’s corresponding author Richard L. Sidman, MD, an investigator in the Department of Neurology at BIDMC and Bullard Professor of Neuropathology (Neuroscience), Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. Sidman is a leader in the field of mammalian brain development whose studies have focused on disease mechanisms in mouse neuro-genetic disorders, including disorders of the retina, the light-sensitive layer of brain tissue at the inner surface of the back of the eye that transmits image information to other parts of the brain via the optic nerve.
AMD develops in approximately 14 million older individuals throughout the U.S. This overgrowth of blood vessels damages the photoreceptor cells near the center of the eye’s retina, resulting in the loss of central vision so that individuals can no longer see objects directly in front of them. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) occurs in premature infants, who develop a similar retinal disease as a side effect of high-level oxygen treatments used until their lungs develop sufficiently to handle the much lower oxygen levels in room air…….
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Source: Eureka Alert