Coming cures

A competitive search is on for medications to treat a number of ocular diseases

17 Sep 2016 by Olivia Wannan

Drug developers are looking to make a significant dent in future cases of untreatable sight loss, with high numbers of ophthalmic drugs being tested for conditions like glaucoma to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at the moment.

In a new report, GBI Research highlighted that, across the world, 782 potential drugs were being tested for their safety and efficacy. This activity follows a period of “stagnancy” in the field, GBI Research analyst, Yasser Mushtaq, told OT.

He highlighted one project that uses topical application of human nerve growth factor for conditions like corneal ulcers as an example of a promising development for patients.

Techniques that target the enzymes in the visual cycle to treat wet AMD had also provided exciting results in pre-clinical and clinical studies, he said.

“Many of the innovative products in development are for wet and dry AMD, and glaucoma,” Mr Mushtaq emphasised.

He highlighted that one in three of these potential drugs had a brand-new method of treating the ocular condition is it being designed for – a high percentage.

However, he warned that of the 782 medications in development, a significant majority are still at a very early stage. Despite this, researchers today knew more about what was causing ocular conditions than they ever had before, Mr Mushtaq explained.

“The high level of diversity … is due to an increased scientific understanding of [the] underlying disease,” he concluded.

Image credit: Vera Kratochvil

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