Researchers are looking into squalamine eye drops as a treatment for wet (neovascular) Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). Their goal is evaluate the safety and effectiveness of squalamine lactate eye drops in improving wet AMD, the less-common forms of AMD.
ARMD is a degenerative eye disease that causes central vision loss. It progresses over time and can results in significant vision loss. The disease is prevalent in the aging. This will be a double-blind study with randomized assignment, which is considered to be a very strong research design. It also means that some study participants may receive a placebo (eye drops without the medication) for part or all of the study period.
Squalamine is a strong, broad-spectrum antibiotic that was originally made from the liver of certain types of sharks. In 1995, active ingredient was synthesized. Today, it is usually artificially sourced. It may also inhibit the growth of blood vessels, which means it acts on the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and on another growth factor, PDGF. The FDA initiated a “fast track” status for researching squalamine’s effectiveness on ARMD in 2005; however, the original manufacturer discontinued the trials two years later. The current owner of squalamine, Ohr Pharmaceutical, is behind this year’s trials.
The patients in the trial will need to be newly diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration and have not had any other treatment for their eye disease. If the drug is shown to be effective, Squalamine may be used on its own, or it may be combined with therapeutic options.
Eye drops are far more efficient than injections from the doctor, because they can be self-administered. The likelihood of patient compliance is increased.
Editor’s Note: Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc. makes Squalamax as a dietary supplement but the FDA has issued a warning letter that they cannot make therapeutic claims. Consult your doctor before trying any treatment for eye disease.