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Drug therapy shows significant benefit in treating a leading cause of childhood blindness
Date:2/16/2011

apy and now offers only the drug therapy to premature infants with this type of retinal disease.

"As compared with conventional laser therapy in treating patients with zone I retinopathy of prematurity, intravitreal bevacizumab represents a true breakthrough in disease management," James D. Reynolds, M.D., wrote in an accompanying editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine. "Intravitreal bevacizumab should become the treatment of choice for zone I retinopathy of prematurity." Reynolds is with the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y.

Compared with laser therapy, Mintz-Hittner cautioned, the drug therapy does require longer follow-up, "You must follow the child for at least 16 weeks following the injection to make sure there isn't a recurrence. Approximately 4 percent of patients (one in every 25 patients) may require a second injection. I explain to parents that it's like a cancer. It can come back and if it isn't treated in time, it can lead to blindness so follow-up is very important."

The next steps in research, Mintz-Hittner said, will be to further evaluate the drug therapy's safety, refine the dosage and timing of follow-up and also study long-term visual function.


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Contact: Meredith Raine
Meredith.Raine@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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