Innovations in Macular Degeneration

75% of AMD is caused by genetic changes inherited from one’s parents. Do you know your genetic risk for developing advanced Age Related Macular Degeneration?

Now you can be screened with RetinaGene®.

What is RetinaGene®?

RetinaGene® is a DNA test that identifies genetic markers associated with Macular Degeneration. By analyzing these genetic markers along with smoking history, we can identify who needs more frequent eye examinations and who may benefit from eye vitamins.

Why is this important?

More frequent eye exams increases the chance of early detection, leading to early treatment that can prevent blindness from wet macular degeneration. Data demonstrates that the best outcomes occur when drugs are administered early while the disease is small and outside the fovea, the most sensitive part of the macula.

How is RetinaGene® testing performed?

A simple and painless cheek swab is used to collect the sample in the office. No food or coffee should be ingested for 30 minutes before collection.

Who can have this test?

It is recommended that screening is performed on patients 65 years or older with a diagnosis of early or intermediate AMD. You must have your eyes examined first to know!

Is it covered by insurance?

Yes, Medicare and most insurance providers covers the genetic testing. There is no charge from our office for the DNA testing.

Ask Dr. Lin about this at your next appointment or call 855-SEE-BEST to schedule your examination today.


5/20/2011:

CATT first year results are in!

The Comparison of AMD Treatments Trial (CATT) is a head to head study of Avastin (bevacizumab) vs Lucentis (ranibizumab) funded by the National Eye Institute.  The highly anticipated first year results of the two year study have been released.

Take home points:

  • At 1 year, Avastin and Lucentis had equivalent effects on visual acuity when administered according to the same schedule.
  • Lucentis given as needed with monthly evaluation had effects on vision that were equivalent to those of Lucentis administered monthly.
  • Differences in rates of serious adverse events require further study.

Philip J. Rosenfed, MD, Ph.D., the physician who pioneered the use of bevacizumab in AMD patients, comments:

"The CATT results, together with the totality of global experience, support the use of either bevacizumab or ranibizumab for the treatment of neovascular AMD. An as-needed regimen is an acceptable alternative to a monthly regimen, but strict compliance on the part of both the clinician and the patient is required. Health care providers and payers worldwide will now have to justify the cost of using ranibizumab. Regulators in certain countries will be forced to reconsider their policies that make it illegal to use drugs off-label, particularly when so many of their citizens cannot afford ranibizumab. The CATT data support the continued global use of intravitreal bevacizumab as an effective, low-cost alternative to ranibizumab."

Read the full article from the New England Journal of Medicine

My take:

The CATT study reaffirms that both drugs are very good. If a patient is doing well on one there is little reason to change to another.  These results support an individualized approach to treatment. We look forward to the final result of this pivotal study in the following year.

Selina J. Lin, MD