According to a JDRF press release great progress has been made towards finding a treatment for diabetes-related eye disease. Novartis Pharmaceuticals, based in Switzerland, announced that the drug Lucentis has been submitted to the European Union’s regulatory agency, European Medicines Agency, for approval for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The submission is based on strong, positive results from Phase II clinical trials, including ones funded by JDRF. Macular Edema is a major complication of diabetes that often leads to vision loss and blindness. Although Lucentis is currently approved in the United States and Europe for treating age-related macular degeneration, there is no approved drug for diabetic related macular edema. According to JDRF, this is remarkable progress towards the approval of the first disease-modifying drug for a diabetes complication.
Lucentis works by blocking the effects of a protein called VEGF, which causes the tiny vessels in the eye to leak, and promotes new vessel growth.