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Drug helps fight rare eye condition


An eye unit has revealed how Avastin helped save the sight of two people suffering with the rare condition, Sorsby’s Fundus Dystrophy (SFD)

Consultant ophthalmologist at Southampton General Hospital’s eye unit, Professor Andrew Lotery, was the first to use the drug to treat SFD – an early onset form of macular degeneration.

The rare genetic condition caused the two patients in their 30s to suffer a general deterioration of sight including blurred vision.

Avastin halts the growth of blood vessels and stems bleeding. It is commonly injected with good results into the eyes of patients with “wet” age related macular degeneration (AMD) – the leading cause of blindness in the western world in people over 50.

However, prognosis in SFD was very poor, as patients lost central visual function in the fourth or fifth decades of life mainly because of the development of new blood vessels in the eye, and it was known patients responded poorly to conventional treatments.

Professor Lotery, whose findings have been accepted by US journal Retinal Cases & Brief Reports, said: “As patients in the past have not responded well to treatments for SFD and because the mutations that lead to the condition are still not yet fully understood, we wanted to investigate other methods of treatment, including the use of bevacizumab (Avastin).”

Copyright Press Association 2010
Retinal Cases & Brief Reports

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