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20 October 2010
Medical device company NeoVista, Inc., recently announced one-year results from its MERITAGE study in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans. Researchers found that a single treatment with the California-based company's EpiRetinal Brachytherapy device stabilized visual acuity in 79 percent of patients, while nearly half of patients experienced improved visual acuity. The results were presented on October 15th at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.
Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow behind the macula, the part of the eye that is responsible for central vision. These fragile vessels may leak blood and fluid, causing the macula to become raised and ultimately damaged. Patients experience a gradual loss of central vision. Although there is no cure for AMD, anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth therapy) drugs have been shown to restore vision when delivered intraocularly. However, not all patients respond to anti-VEGF therapy.
MERITAGE, which stands for Macular EpiRetinal Brachytherapy In Treated Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients, evaluated NeoVista's investigational device in wet AMD patients who required chronic anti-VEGF therapy. Patients involved in the study had undergone as many as 38 anti-VEGF injections prior to enrollment, and the study population as a whole tended toward vision loss. In addition to the results reported above, researchers found that the group required fewer anti-VEGF injections after treatment with the NeoVista device. One-fourth of patients remained injection-free 12 months after treatment.
NeoVista's therapeutic device delivers low doses of strontium 90 radiation directly to the affected area. Low-dose radiation has been shown to shrink ocular tumors, slow the development of new vessels and reduce inflammation without damaging healthy tissue. Strontium 90 has been used to treat eye disorders for over 40 years. NeoVista's device has CE Mark approval in Europe.
NeoVista has completed enrollment in the company's first pivotal trial, CABERNET (CNV Secondary to AMD Treated with BEta RadiatioN Epiretinal Therapy). More than 490 subjects are enrolled at 45 sites worldwide. The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of NeoVista's therapy delivered alongside the anti-VEGF therapy Lucentis, compared to Lucentis alone. A second pivotal trial, MERLOT, (Macular EpiRetinal Brachytherapy versus Lucentis Only Treatment), is being conducted in 20 centers throughout the United Kingdom.
NeoVista is scheduled to present at the OneMedForum San Francisco 2011. The conference, being held January 11-13, provides a means for investors to connect with the world's most promising emerging growth healthcare companies. To learn more about the conference, visit http://www.onemedplace.com/forum.
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