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  • 6/15/2010

Cheap cancer drug fights blindness   

avastin

A drug commonly used to treat bowel cancer can lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in patients aged over 50.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition through which an individual loses his/her sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving gradually as a result of the aging process.

AMD is classified into two major types: Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease which develops very slowly, and wet AMD which occurs quickly, causing vision loss.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, off-label use of avastin (Bevacizumab) for wet AMD is as effective as ranibizumab (Lucentis), the drug commonly used for the condition; it is, however, less pricey.

Both drugs inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), preventing the growth of blood vessels that can leak in the retina and subsequently fight wet AMD.

Avastin is reported to be effective only in patients who are treated in the first year wet AMD develops, the study found.

Scientists concluded that the injection of tiny quantities of avastin is a cheap but effective treatment for preventing AMD-related blindness in countries that cannot afford the costly Lucentis.

Avastin is a humanized monoclonal antibody that is approved for the treatment of a wide range of metastatic cancers particularly that of the colon and rectum.

Source: presstv.ir


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