Squalamine Shows Promise in Retinal Vein Occlusion
by:Laird Harrison 
VIENNA — Adding topical squalamine to ranibizumab (Lucentis, Genentech, Inc) improves visual acuity significantly more than ranibizumab alone in patients with retinal vein occlusion, a small trial shows.
“At week 10, I was already seeing better results than most trials at 1 year,” said John Wroblewski, MD, from Cumberland Valley Retina Consultants, in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Dr Wroblewski presented the study results here at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 2015 Annual Meeting.
The widely used macular edema drugs act only on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); in contrast, squalamine inhibits platelet-derived growth factor, basic fibrous growth factor, and VEGF receptors 1 and 2, he told Medscape Medical News.
In addition, squalamine, which can be administered as an eye drop, permeates the sclera into the choroid. Ohr Pharmaceuticals has formulated the drug for this purpose, he reported.
In the study, Dr Wroblewski and his team tested the effectiveness of topical squalamine in retinal vein occlusion. The pair recruited 20 people who had not previously been treated for retinal vein occlusion. All had a central subfield thickness greater than 300 µm and best corrected visual acuity of 20/40 to 20/320.
All patients received squalamine eye drops for 10 weeks. Starting at week 2, they also received intravitreal ranibizumab 0.5 mg every 4 weeks.
The 19 patients classified as early treatment responders at 10 weeks did not require a third ranibizumab injection. Of these patients, 80% gained at least three lines of best corrected visual acuity.
After 10 weeks, 10 patients were randomly assigned to continue with the squalamine eye drops; the other 10 did not continue. All 20 patients continued taking ranibizumab as needed until the end of the study at week 38, depending on visual acuity and spectral domain optical coherence tomography…….
Read more: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/848323
Source: Medscape