New Study by USC Eye Institute Shows Ranibizumab Reverses Vision Loss in Working-Age U.S. Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Whites Suffering from Diabetic Eye Disease

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USC Eye Institute studies show that prescription drug Ranibizumab may help reduce cases of blindness by 75 percent.

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We found that Ranibizumab can save the sight of thousands of working-age individuals suffering from diabetic eye disease, as standard treatments such as laser are not as effective - Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H.

Ranibizumab, a prescription drug commonly used to treat age-related vision loss, also reverses vision loss caused by diabetes among Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, according to a new study led by investigators from the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute.

Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the United States, according to the National Eye Institute. Laser surgery is the standard treatment for advanced stages of the disease, characterized by blurred vision, but previous research has shown that only 30 percent of patients saw improvement in their vision.

“We found that Ranibizumab can save the sight of thousands of working-age individuals suffering from diabetic eye disease, as standard treatments such as laser are not as effective,” said Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., director of the USC Eye Institute, professor and chair of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study’s lead author.

As published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology Journal, Varma’s team developed a population-based model that suggests that administering 0.3 milligrams of ranibizumab every four weeks to patients with diabetic macular edema would reduce the number of cases of vision impairment by 45 percent, or 5,134 individuals, and the number of cases of legal blindness by 75 percent, or 1,275 individuals. The model was based on the approximately 37,000 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults with diabetic macular edema in the United States for whom ranibizumab treatment could be used. Because other race and ethnic groups were not included in the study, authors contend that the treatment may benefit even more people than their results show.

Ranibizumab is manufactured and marketed by Genentech Inc. under the trade name Lucentis. The study was supported in part by Genentech Inc. It appears in the Feb. 7, 2015, online edition of the peer-reviewed medical journal Ophthalmology.

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Contact: Alison Trinidad at (323) 442-3941 or alison.trinidad(at)usc(dot)edu

Article Cited:
Varma, R., Bressler, N. M., Doan, Q. V., Danese, M., Dolan, C. M. … Turpcu, A. (2015). Visual impairment and blindness avoided with ranibizumab in Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites with diabetic macular edema in the United States. Ophthalmology, 1-8. Published online Feb. 9, 2015; doi:10.1016.j.ophtha.2014.007

ABOUT KECK MEDICINE OF USC
Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical excellence, the medical system attracts internationally renowned experts who teach and practice at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the region’s first medical school; includes the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States; has a medical faculty practice, the USC Care Medical Group; operates the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 401-licensed bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-licensed bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and owns USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-licensed bed community hospital. It also includes more than 40 outpatient facilities, some at affiliated hospitals, in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck Medical Center of USC among the Top 10 in ophthalmology (No. 9), and among the Top 25 hospitals in the United States for urology (No. 20) and cancer care (No. 23). The medical center was also awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in 2014, representing outstanding patient safety practices and overall patient outcomes.

For more information, go to http://www.keckmedicine.org/beyond.

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