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Friday, February 22, 2008

Autoimmune Disease Therapy and AMD Clinical Trials Open Soon!

16 Adar 57658

This news merits another post for the day:

Israeli and American scientists are working together to develop a new orally administered treatment for patients suffering from autoimmune diseases. Clinical trials begin in Jerusalem this February.

This is an international effort to bring life-saving technology to untold numbers of people. The medical institutions involved include Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) - a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

And here's information from a recent NIH press release about that AMD Clinical Trial:

The National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the start of a multicenter clinical trial to compare the relative safety and effectiveness of two drugs currently used to treat advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The two drugs are Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab).

AMD is a disease that damages the macula. The macula is the area of the retina responsible for central vision. AMD is a leading cause of blindness among older Americans. Nearly two million Americans are visually impaired by AMD, while more than seven million are at increased risk of vision loss from the disease.

"Visual impairment from AMD can lead to loss of independence and a reduced quality of life," said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of NEI. "This clinical trial will evaluate whether the treatment burden for patients can be reduced without compromising effectiveness."

Lucentis was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June of 2006 for the treatment of advanced, or wet, AMD. The approval was based on evidence from clinical trials showing that Lucentis slows the rate of progression of vision loss from wet AMD. In addition to a low rate of developing vision loss, approximately one-third of patients treated in these trials had some improvement in vision, as measured on an eye chart, at 12 months.

Learn more about the proposed clinical trials at

For a list of clinical centers, eligibility recruitments, and other information, go to:, or call the CATT Coordinating Center in the USA at 1-800-000-0000.


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