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Optometrists encouraged to make patients aware of dry AMD study

“The larger the number of patients we observe and treat, the more we will learn and the faster we will reach a cure for this devastating condition”

Chokniti Khongchum

Optometrists are being encouraged to raise awareness of a study that investigates the potential of using gene therapy to treat dry age-related macular degeneration.

In an interview with OT, consultant ophthalmologist, Mr Paulo Stanga, highlighted that two studies are examining the genetics of dry AMD and assessing the impact of a possible treatment.

Within the Scope study, patients with geographic atrophy secondary to dry AMD are screened for eligibility and genotype with a saliva sample. If they are found to have a rare variant, they are observed for 96 weeks.

During this period, if patients are eligible to participate in the interventional trial, Focus, they are offered the opportunity to undergo gene therapy.

Mr Stanga highlighted that it is hoped the research will provide insight into how dry AMD develops.

The gene therapy aims to avoid the need for monthly or bimonthly intravitreal injections with a one-off surgery.

“If the study is successful, and we can treat patients at an early stage, we may be able to prevent a significant loss of vision,” Mr Stanga emphasised.

He encouraged optometrists with patients who might be eligible for the study to make them aware of the research. Patients interested in participating in the study can contact the research team on 01438 532142.

“They will not only be observed but if patients meet certain inclusion criteria, they can undergo treatment,” Mr Stanga said.

“The larger the number of patients we observe and treat, the more we will learn and the faster we will reach a cure for this devastating condition,” he added.