Aflibercept is currently a treatment for wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), but it may also prove useful for patients with dry AMD.
The researchers accidentally discovered that an anti-placental growth factor antibody could provide retinal protection for the dry form of Macular Degeneration. They tried using a known protein called placental growth factor (PlGF) on a simulation of wet AMD in animal tissues. The PIGF made the retinal cells worse. So, they tried an anti-PlGF antibody treatment. This treatment provided protection against retinal damage.
Aflibercept is an anti-PlGF antibody treatment. It is used to treat wet AMD, macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. Since it is an existing and approved drug, it can be quickly evaluated in clinical trials for a new use with dry AMD patients.
Dry Macular Degeneration is more common than Wet AMD (also known as choroidal neovascularization). Macular Degeneration means that central part vision is damaged and gradually lost over time. It is especially prevalent in senior citizens, interfering with quality-of-life factors such as driving, reading, writing, recognizing faces, cooking and living independently.
Study: “Protective Effects of Antiplacental Growth Factor Antibody Against Light-Induced Retinal Damage in Mice.” by Hiroshi Izawa, Yuki Inoue, Yuta Ohno, Kazuki Ojino, Kazuhiro Tsuruma, Masamitsu Shimazawa, Hideaki Hara. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015 Oct;56(11):6914-24