Purpose: We assessed the safety and efficacy of a technically advanced subretinal electronic implant, RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS, in end stage retinal degeneration in an interim analysis of two ongoing prospective clinical trials. The purpose of this article is to describe the interim functional results (efficacy).Methods: The subretinal visual prosthesis RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS (Retina Implant AG, Reutlingen, Germany) was implanted in 15 blind patients with hereditary retinal degenerations at four study sites with a follow-up period of 12 months (www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT01024803 and NCT02720640). Functional outcome measures included (1) screen-based standardized 2- or 4-alternative forced-choice (AFC) tests of light perception, light localization, grating detection (basic grating acuity (BaGA) test), and Landolt C-rings; (2) gray level discrimination; (3) performance during activities of daily living (ADL-table tasks).Results: Implant-mediated light perception was observed in 13/15 patients. During the observation period implant mediated localization of visual targets was possible in 13/15 patients. Correct grating detection was achieved for spatial frequencies of 0.1 cpd (cycles per degree) in 4/15; 0.33 cpd in 3/15; 0.66 cpd in 2/15; 1.0 cpd in 2/15 and 3.3 cpd in 1/15 patients. In two patients visual acuity (VA) assessed with Landolt C- rings was 20/546 and 20/1111. Of 6 possible gray levels on average 4.6 ± 0.8 (mean ± SD, n = 10) were discerned. Improvements (power ON vs. OFF) of ADL table tasks were measured in 13/15 patients. Overall, results were stable during the observation period. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported in 4 patients: 2 movements of the implant, readjusted in a second surgery; 4 conjunctival erosion/dehiscence, successfully treated; 1 pain event around the coil, successfully treated; 1 partial reduction of silicone oil tamponade leading to distorted vision (silicon oil successfully refilled). The majority of adverse events (AEs) were transient and mostly of mild to moderate intensity.Conclusions: Psychophysical and subjective data show that RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS is reliable, well tolerated and can restore limited visual functions in blind patients with degenerations of the outer retina. Compared with the previous implant Alpha IMS, longevity of the new implant Alpha AMS has been considerably improved. Alpha AMS has meanwhile been certified as a commercially available medical device, reimbursed in Germany by the public health system.
Genetic and epidemiologic studies have shown that lipid genes and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are implicated in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We studied circulating lipid levels in relation to AMD in a large European dataset, and investigated whether this relationship is driven by certain sub fractions. Design: (Pooled) analysis of cross-sectional data. Participants: 30,953 individuals aged 50+ participating in the E3 consortium; and 1530 individuals from the Rotterdam Study with lipid sub fraction data. Methods: In E3, AMD features were graded per eye on fundus photographs using the Rotterdam Classification. Routine blood lipid measurements were available from each participant. Data on genetics, medication and confounders such as body mass index, were obtained from a common database. In a subgroup of the Rotterdam Study, lipid sub fractions were identified by the Nightingale biomarker platform. Random-intercepts mixed-effects models incorporating confounders and study site as a random-effect were used to estimate the associations. Main Outcome Measures: early, late or any AMD, phenotypic features of early AMD, lipid measurements. Results: HDL was associated with an increased risk of AMD, corrected for potential confounders (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.21 per 1mmol/L increase (95% confidence interval[CI] 1.14-1.29); while triglycerides were associated with a decreased risk (OR 0.94 per 1mmol/L increase [95%CI 0.91-0.97]). Both were associated with drusen size, higher HDL raises the odds of larger drusen while higher triglycerides decreases the odds. LDL-cholesterol only reached statistical significance in the association with early AMD (p=0.045). Regarding lipid sub fractions: the concentration of extra-large HDL particles showed the most prominent association with AMD (OR 1.24 [95%CI 1.10-1.40]). The CETP risk variant (rs17231506) for AMD was in line with increased-HDL levels (p=7.7x10-7); but LIPC risk variants (rs2043085, rs2070895) were associated in an opposite way (p=1.0x10-6 and 1.6x10-4). Conclusions: Our study suggests that HDL-cholesterol is associated with increased risk of AMD and triglycerides negatively associated. Both show the strongest association with early AMD and drusen. Extra-large HDL sub fractions seem to be drivers in the relation with AMD, variants in lipid genes play a more ambiguous role in this association. Whether systemic lipids directly influence AMD or represent lipid metabolism in the retina remains a question to be answered.
Purpose: That vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a major role in inflammatory angiogenesis has been well established. This pilot study was designed to evaluate experimental treatment with bevacizumab eyedrops in corneal neovas-cularization induced by alkali burn. The feasibility of topical administration, cor-neal cell viability and corneal penetration were investigated in an animal model. Methods: Eighteen chinchilla bastard rabbit corneas injured with 1 m NaOH were divided into three groups: untreated, early and late treatment groups. Eyedrops of bevacizumab solution (25 mg ⁄ ml) were administered five times daily. Clinical examination under stereoscopic microscope was performed to evaluate corneal opacity, neovascularization, vessel size and oedema. Histopathology was analysed for vessel density and apoptotic reaction. Additionally, intracameral bevacizumab concentration was measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) after repeated topical applications. Results: A fast increase in aqueous bevacizumab concentration was achieved when the solution was instilled every minute onto a healthy eye surface. As well as clear anti-angiogenic effects, anti-fibrotic effects were also seen after corneal burn, maintaining corneal transparency. Early treatment of actively growing vessels showed a significantly better outcome, although apoptosis of pre-existing vessels could also be induced by the late treatment. No specific toxicity was seen regarding epithelium, keratocytes or endothelium. Conclusions: The data from this pilot study suggest that bevacizumab eyedrops can sufficiently penetrate the corneal stroma and anterior chamber. When administered soon after alkali burn, bevacizumab seems to significantly reduce corneal damage. Combinations of established treatment regimens with topical bevacizumab might be considered in severe injuries with otherwise devastating prognoses.
Aim: To evaluate the antiproliferative and cytotoxic properties of bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), on human retinal pigment epithelium (ARPE19) cells, rat retinal ganglion cells (RGC5), and pig choroidal endothelial cells (CEC). Methods: Monolayer cultures of ARPE19, RGC5, and CEC were used. Bevacizumab (0.008-2.5 mg/ml), diluted in culture medium, was added to cells that were growing on cell culture dishes. Cellular proliferative activity was monitored by 59-bromo-29-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into cellular DNA and the morphology assessed microscopically. For cytotoxicity assays ARPE19, RGC5, and CEC cells were grown to confluence and then cultured in a serum depleted medium to ensure a static milieu. The MTT test was performed after 1 day. The ''Live/Dead'' viability/cytotoxicity assay was performed and analysed by fluorescence microscopy after 6,12,18,24, 30, 36, and 48 hours of incubation. Expression of VEGF, VEGF receptors (VEGFR1 and VEGFR2) and von Willebrand factor was analysed by immunohistochemistry. Results: No cytotoxicity of bevacizumab on RGC5, CEC, and ARPE19 cells could be observed after 1 day. However, after 2 days at a bevacizumab concentration of 2.5 mg/ml a moderate decrease in ARPE19 cell numbers and cell viability was observed. Bevacizumab caused a dose dependent suppression of DNA synthesis in CEC as a result of a moderate antiproliferative activity (maximum reduction 36.8%). No relevant antiproliferative effect of bevacizumab on RGC5 and ARPE19 cells could be observed when used at a concentration of 0.8 mg/ml or lower. CEC and ARPE 19 cells stained positively for VEGF, VEGFR1, and VEGFR2. More than 95% of the CEC were positive for von Willebrand factor. Conclusions: These experimental findings support the safety of intravitreal bevacizumab when used at the currently applied concentration of about 0.25 mg/ml. Bevacizumab exerts a moderate growth inhibition on CEC when used in concentrations of at least 0.025 mg/ml. However, at higher doses (2.5 mg/ml) bevacizumab may be harmful to the retinal pigment epithelium.
Bevacizumab is not toxic to corneal cells of human origin in vitro at doses usually used for treatment of corneal neovascularization, which is 20-fold higher than that used for intravitreal application.
Bevacizumab, pegaptanib and ranibizumab significantly suppress choroidal endothelial cell proliferation. However, when used at the currently established doses none of the drugs was superior over the others in respect to endothelial cell growth inhibition. The biocompatibility of all three drugs--including the off-label bevacizumab--seems to be excellent when used at the currently recommended intravitreal dose.
Biopolymers based on UV cross-linked hyaluronic acid may be promising vitreous substitutes.
These data illustrate that subretinal application of rAAV8 leads to a more favorable biodistribution profile compared to intravitreal injections. Extraocular biodistribution is limited after subretinal delivery, while intravitreal injection leads to both greater and more persistent systemic exposure, evident in blood and lymphatic tissues. With the knowledge on the dynamics of shedding in a setting mimicking clinical application, guidelines can be developed to refine clinical trial protocols to reduce the risk for trial subjects and their environment.
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