News Release: Emory Healthcare , Research , School of Medicine

Apr. 29,  2011

NIH Study Finds Avastin and Lucentis are Equally Effective in Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration

(ATLANTA) - Emory Eye Center and other study centers have been a part of a two-year national clinical trial evaluating two drugs for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Results from the first year of a trial among 48 eye institutions show that Avastin (bevacizumab) - a drug approved to treat some cancers and that is commonly used off-label to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - is as effective as the Food and Drug Administration approved drug Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of AMD.  

The report, from the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (CATT), was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The National Eye Institute (NEI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, funds CATT.  

"More than 250,000 patients are treated each year for AMD, and a substantial number of them receive Avastin. Given the lack of efficacy data regarding Avastin for AMD treatment, the NEI had an obligation to patients and clinicians to conduct this study," said Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, director of the NEI.  

Retina specialist Baker Hubbard, MD, was the principal investigator of the trial at the Emory Eye Center. “We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the patients who participated in this research and adhered to the rigorous protocol of monthly evaluations and injections over a period of now more than a year. Through their dedication we have learned a tremendous amount about the two most important new drugs in the last decade in ophthalmology.    

“I’m very relieved that the patients that we’ve been treating for years using off-label bevacizumab have non-inferior outcomes to those treated with ranibizumab at the one year time point,” says Emory Eye Center director Timothy W. Olsen, MD. “The potential cost savings to the healthcare system is extraordinary.  The data is very interesting and following the trends out further for the second year of the study will be important.”  

Background information about this study and AMD can be found @http://www.eyecenter.emory.edu/press_releases/pr_retina_40.htm

Read more about the Emory Eye Center @ http://eyecenter.emory.edu

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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