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Two diseases, one new drug

A new drug, currently in clinical trials, could potentially treat both macular oedema and wet AMD


The clinical trial of a new drug, known as ‘SF0166,’ has launched in the US in a study of 40 patients with diabetic macular oedema (DMO), alongside a second for those with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The early-stage study will primarily monitor how well the patient groups tolerate the drug, as well as give an initial overview of how effectively it worked over the two-month trial for each disease.

A key feature of the new pharmaceutical, which was developed by pharmaceutical company SciFluor Life Sciences, is that it is able to reach the retina in high concentrations when used topically – in contrast to current anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs that must be injected.

SciFluor’s vice president of research, Dr Ben Askew, told OT that: “Getting something to the back of the eye is the challenge.”

However, the potential drug has an advantage over other medications of its kind as it is highly water soluble and is also “greasy,” he explained, adding: “We have been able to fine-tune the properties of the drug.”

Patients will either receive a low, high or no dosage of the medication, which they will administer themselves for 28 days. The DMO study is expected to conclude in February, with the results to follow.

Dr Askew outlined that ‘SF0166’ works by interrupting the body’s response to the “abnormal signals” of DMO and wet AMD, which the eye interprets as a lack of oxygen.

He highlighted that, if successful, the drug could be used to complement or even replace current therapies.

“This is fairly early stage in terms of clinical trials but we’re cautiously optimistic that this will offer a real advantage,” he concluded.

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