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Mouse studies advance treatment for common eye diseases
Date:9/3/2014

ood vessels in the eye less responsive to VEGF, but it also reduces leakage caused by other proteins that are active in eye diseases."

Working with mice genetically engineered to have vascular eye diseases, the team treated some with injections into the eye of an antibody that blocks an enzyme called VE-PTP. VE-PTP normally suppresses the pathway that reduces blood vessel growth and leakage, so the net effect was to activate the pathway.

The second method involved the use of a small molecule, AKB-9778, developed by Aerpio Therapeutics, which also blocks VE-PTP. Because of its size, AKB-9778 can easily enter the eye from the bloodstream, and the indirect action appears not to carry the same risks to the body as directly blocking VEGF, Campochiaro says. "If further studies show that the small molecule is safe and effective for people, patients could give themselves an injection under the skin every day," he says. "Our studies in animals so far suggest it doesn't have major side effects." If confirmed in clinical studies, this could reduce the need for patients to come in frequently to get injections in the eye. He says AKB-9778 may have the additional benefits of stabilizing blood vessels in other parts of the body and lowering blood pressure.

An estimated 2 million people in the United States suffer from age-related macular degeneration, with the incidence expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2030 and to 5.5 million by 2050. Roughly 20 percent of patients with age-related macular degeneration suffer from abnormal blood vessel growth and vascular leakage, says Campochiaro, and so may be helped by this new therapy, if it proves to work in clinical trials. An equally large number of patients have diabetic macular edema and could also potentially benefit from the treatment. The incidence of these diseases is increasing very quickly, because our population is aging and the number of patients with diabetes is increasing so rapidly, he says.


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Contact: Taylor Graham
tgraha10@jhmi.edu
443-287-8560
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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