New Hope For Macular Degeneration - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/2/05

New Hope For Macular Degeneration

Doctors are finding a new drug shows promising results in curing macular degeneration. 
"It's just a miracle really and i'm tickled to death," says seventy-seven year old Dwight Smith.
 
Dwight is grateful he agreed to test the drug Lucentis after doctors diagnosed his Wet Macular Degeneration.
 
It looks like this, with a small black spot that blocks your vision, that spot grows and distorts your view. Two years ago, Dwight's eye tested legally blind. 
 
"A car could have been a truck.   A truck could have been a train as far as seeing anything you know just distorted everything you have," says Dwight.
 
But now after monthly injections, he is 20-30 in that eye. "He reads the newspaper and drives and everything is just back to normal and it's just unbelievable that could happen," says Dwight's wife.
 
Harvard graduate Opthamologist Dr. Thomas Ciulla is one of the leading clinical trial investigators trying to find a cure for the problem which impacts one in four people over the age of 75. 
 
"Mac Degeneration is really one of the major major public health problems in our country. There are many baby boomers who are going to develop this and it's a huge threat to their independence so I think having a drug that not only limits vision loss but also restores vision is going to have a tremendous impact on our society," says Dr. Ciulla. 
 
In the trial, the drug Lucentis is injected monthly. Of nearly 700 patients, 95 percent reported vision stabilization.Vision improved for 25 to 33 percent of patients. After a year of treatment, 40 percent
of patients tested 20-40 or better. 
 
"I think a lot of people are hoping this is the next blockbuster.   We can actually improve their vision, restore their sight, which is really a new paradigm shift for this disease," says Dr. Ciulla. 
 
Look for FDA approval in early 2007.

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