The diabetes vision drug Lucentis has helped to improve the vision of people with a type of blindness associated with diabetes, according to a report released Tuesday from drug regulators.
Biz Journals reports that the report comes in advance of a committee meeting on Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, in which Lucentis maker Genentech hopes to expand the use of the vision drug from wer age-related macular degeneration to patients who suffer from diabetic macular edema.
If they get the go ahead, then Lucentis will be the first drug approved by the FDA for diabetic vision loss. The FDA staff stated in the report that:
“A majority of patients who received Lucentis achieved 20/40 vision (the level needed to read typical newsprint or obtain a driver’s license)…and many reported improvements in quality of life measures.”
The current treatment for diabetes vision loss is laser, but according to Bloomberg Business Week, Anthony Adamis, the vice president and global head of ophthalmology at Roche’s Genentech unit stated of the new drug that:
“I think this is going to be transformative for those people. Laser essentially slows the rate of vision loss but very few people gain vision. But what we saw in our trial is people gained vision and significant vision.”
Roche, parent company of Genentech, studied Lucentis as a monthly injection in a study of 700 patients. Roughly two-thirds received the medication, while the rest received fake injections. Lucentis patients were able to read three more lines of letters in an eye chart following two years of injections. They were also much more likely to achieve 20/40 vision, which is enough eyesight to drive.
The new diabetes vision drug, Lucentis, could be approved by the FDA on Thursday.