SEP 18, 2020
Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous
A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.
Aldeyra Therapeutics has received the green light to proceed with a phase 2 trial evaluating ADX-629 for severe COVID-19. The oral drug inhibits reactive aldehyde species (RASP)—which plays a key role in modulating immune systems—and is in the same chemical class as Aldeyra’s dry eye candidate reproxalap. Investigators intend to enroll 30 adults hospitalized with COVID-19, and randomize them to a 28-day course of ADX-629 or placebo. Aldeyra Therapeutics
Finally, some good news for Novartis and their anti-VEGF drug brolucizumab. According to new results from the phase 3 KITE trial testing the drug in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), brolucizumab offers noninferior BCVA gains to aflibercept and superior improvements in central subfield thickness at 1 year. The 3-month dosing interval appeared well tolerated and had a comparable rate of intraocular inflammation, a side effect that has been a significant concern for the drug since it came under review in March 2020. Novartis is now actively pursuing a full clinical development program to test brolucizumab for wet AMD, DME, retinal vein occlusion and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Novartis
Virtual reality enthusiasts rejoice: the Oculus Quest 2 has just been announced. As the next generation of all-in-one virtual reality, the new tech touts Oculus’ highest resolution display yet along with a build-in interpupillary distance adjustment mechanism. Moreover, the sleek new headset is cheaper and 10% lighter than its predecessor. “Quest 2 is more than just the next step in all-in-one VR,” the company said in the press release. “It represents years of feedback from developers, gaming enthusiasts, and the broader VR community, and we couldn’t be more grateful for this ongoing support.” Oculus
A new study hints the common Parkinson drug levodopa may be effective for neovascular AMD. Researchers report that dopamine precursor reduced retinal fluid by 29% within 1 month, sustaining levels for 6 months or more, and improved mean visual acuity from 20/40 to 20/32. Among patients previously treated with anti-VEGF, levodopa reduced the need for additional anti-VEGF injections by 52% while treatment-naïve patients managed to get away with fewer injections than the standard monthly treatment. The authors note that the well-established Parkinson drug may be able to reduce the financial burden of frequent anti-VEGF injections and, as an adjuvant therapy, could save billions by altering disease progression. Elsevier, The American Journal of Medicine
A revolutionary world-first cortical vision device is being prepped for human clinical trials in Melbourne. The Gennaris bionic vision system restores visual perception by transmitting electrical stimulation to the visual cortex via 9x9 mm tiles that are implanted into the brain. The system consists of custom headgear equipped with a camera and wireless transmitter and a vision processor unit. Initial animal experiments showed that sheep could tolerate more than 2,700 hours of stimulation without any observable adverse effects. If successful, the technology could be applied to brain-controlled prosthetics or conditions such as in spinal cord injury, epilepsy and depression. Monash University, Journal of Neural Engineering