In Pursuit of Ocular Health

Our deep focus on eye disease stems from the unmet and growing need to counter prevalent, difficult-to-treat ophthalmic conditions.

Diabetic Macular Edema

Since the introduction of anti-VEGF therapy, no new agents have become available to treat the 50% of DME patients who continue to lose vision even after treatment.3
More than 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes1 and that number is alarmingly on the rise.2 About 8% of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are expected to develop diabetic macular edema (DME),1 a leading cause of vision loss.

In people with diabetes, poorly controlled blood sugar may cause progressive damage to the blood vessels in the eye. Fluid from the damaged vessels may leak into the back of the eye, causing swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina that provides sharp, in-focus vision.

The process of developing DME is quite complex. Cell receptors called integrins are involved in different pathways of oxidative stress response that can all affect the retina: increased vascular permeability, angiogenesis, inflammation, and neurodegeneration.

The current standard of care in the treatment for DME relies primarily on a class of drugs known as anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) agents. These well-established drugs target the downstream effects of two oxidative stress pathways (vascular permeability and angiogenesis). When injected frequently (every 4 to 8 weeks), anti-VEGF therapy is effective for approximately 50% of the DME population3

In some cases, patients do not adequately respond to anti-VEGF therapy, and then steroids are used to target inflammation, another oxidative stress pathway.

Currently, there are no drugs available that target the different pathways of oxidative stress associated with DME, and none that address neurodegeneration or all of the pathways simultaneously.

Resources:


1. Eye Vis (Lond) 2015;2:17.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long-term trends in diabetes. April 2017.
3. Singer MA, Kermany DS, Waters J, et al. F1000Res. 2016;5.