Study: Combination therapy may improve diabetic macular edema

WASHINGTON A combination of a biotech drug and laser treatment may improve vision in patients with swelling of the retina resulting from diabetes, according to a new study.

The study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and published in the journal Ophthalmology, found that injections of the Genentech drug Lucentis (ranibizumab) combined with laser treatment improved vision in nearly 50% of patients, compared with 28% of those who received laser treatment alone, the standard of care for the past 25 years. The study involved 52 clinical sites within the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, also known as DRCR.net.

“These results indicate a treatment breakthrough for saving the vision of people with diabetic macular edema,” DRCR.net chairman and chief of Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute retina division Neil Bressler said. “Eye injections of ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser treatment should now be considered for patients with characteristics similar to those in this clinical trial.”

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