JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
REVIEW
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Neovascular age-related macular degeneration: potential therapies.

Drugs 2008
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects an estimated 14 million people worldwide, and is the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in individuals over the age of 50 years in Western societies. Choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the hallmark of 'wet', 'exudative' or 'neovascular' AMD, is responsible for approximately 90% of cases of severe vision loss due to AMD. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to play a key role in the regulation of CNV and vascular permeability. Ranibizumab, the current gold standard in the US for the treatment of neovascular AMD, exerts its effect through binding and inhibition of all isoforms of VEGF. Randomized controlled clinical trials have established ranibizumab as the first US FDA-approved therapy for neovascular AMD to result in improvement in visual acuity. Despite impressive outcomes, treatment with ranibizumab requires sustained treatment regimens and frequent intravitreal injections. In this review, we discuss promising emerging therapies for neovascular AMD that aim to improve outcomes, safety and treatment burden through novel mechanisms of action. Currently in phase III clinical trials, VEGF Trap is a receptor decoy that targets VEGF with higher affinity than ranibizumab and other currently available anti-VEGF agents. Another promising therapeutic strategy is the blockade of VEGF effects by inhibition of the tyrosine kinase cascade downstream from the VEGF receptor; such therapies currently in development include vatalanib, TG100801, pazopanib, AG013958 and AL39324. Small interfering RNA technology-based therapies have been designed to downregulate the production of VEGF (bevasiranib) or VEGF receptors (AGN211745) by degradation of specific messenger RNA. Other potential therapies include pigment epithelium-derived factor-based therapies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists, integrin antagonists and sirolimus.

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