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Macular Degeneration

NEWS
October 1, 2010
Avastin, the anti-cancer drug already widely used off-label by physicians to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, is as effective as Lucentis, the gold standard for treatment of the disorder, researchers said Friday. The first head-to-head study of the two drugs could be a step toward Food and Drug Administration approval to market Avastin for macular degeneration, which would lead more insurance companies to reimburse patients for its use. Potentially more important, Avastin is much cheaper than Lucentis -- costing about $50 per injection compared with $2,000 per injecton for Lucentis.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 2010 | By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
The first-of-its kind stem cell research facility opened Friday at UC Irvine, with leading scientists and state officials on hand to do the honors. UC Irvine's Sue and Bill Gross Hall: A California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is the first of seven such facilities the state agency plans to open for stem cell research at California universities. The statewide regenerative medicine agency was created after passage of Proposition 71 in 2004 by 59% of voters, who supported new funding sources for stem cell research after then-President George W. Bush banned federal funding to develop new stem cell lines.
SCIENCE
October 25, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
Pennsylvania researchers using gene therapy have made significant improvements in vision in 12 patients with a rare inherited visual defect, a finding that suggests it may be possible to produce similar improvements in a much larger number of patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. The team last year reported success with three adult patients, an achievement that was hailed as a major accomplishment for gene therapy. They have now treated an additional nine patients, including five children, and find that the best results are achieved in the youngest patients, whose defective retinal cells have not had time to die off. The youngest patient, 9-year-old Corey Haas, was considered legally blind before the treatment began.
SPORTS
April 12, 2009 | Associated Press
Mark Wetzel can't tell you exactly what his wife or children look like. He can, however, tell you how to hit a 95 mph fastball. Even one of baseball's greatest hitters, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, has taken the advice of the man known simply as the "blind guy." Left legally blind 45 years ago by macular degeneration, the 59-year-old Wetzel has immersed himself in the study of the swing for the last two decades. His "laboratory," as he calls his training facility, is just a few paces from the front door of the home he shares with wife, Judy, on some land on the north edge of Omaha.
HEALTH
February 16, 2009 | Jeannine Stein
Add vision protection to exercise's list of benefits. In two new analyses based on the National Runners' Health Study, one found that people who ran an average of 2 to 4 kilometers a day (1 mile equals 1.6 kilometers) had a 19% decrease in their risk of age-related macular degeneration, when compared with people who ran less than 2 kilometers per day. Those who ran more than 4 kilometers per day had a 42% to 54% decrease in risk.
HEALTH
May 14, 2007 | Chris Woolston, Special to The Times
The product: Eye supplements are a hot topic of conversation in Kerry Beebe's optometry office in Brainerd, Minn., right up there with the weather and Frances McDormand trivia. "We field questions about vitamins multiple times a day," says Beebe, chairman of the Clinical Care Group for the American Optometric Assn. Patients mainly want to know if vitamins can help save them from macular degeneration, the leading cause of severe vision loss in America.
HEALTH
November 6, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Keeping an active lifestyle appears able to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. "Engaging in an active lifestyle or walking more ... reduced the risk of developing exudative AMD over 15 years by 70% and 30%, respectively," Michael Knudtson, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a report published online last week in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
BUSINESS
October 20, 2006 | From Reuters
A federal trial began Thursday pitting top biotechnology company Genentech Inc. against an ophthalmologist who claims he helped develop the company's Lucentis eye disease drug and deserves a share of its sales. The trial in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia will determine whether Dr. Kourosh Dastgheib should be allowed a share of the revenue from Lucentis, which is approved to treat macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Two Genentech Inc. drugs may be tested against the same disease in a federal government study, jeopardizing almost $1 billion in estimated annual sales for the biotechnology company. The National Eye Institute has approved the trial in principle, subject to resolving how to pay for it, Frederick Ferris, the institute's clinical director, said Monday.
HEALTH
July 10, 2006 | From Times wire reports
The first drug shown to significantly improve the vision of patients who suffer from a disease that is the major cause of blindness among the elderly has won federal approval. The drug, called Lucentis, treats the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, a disorder in which blood vessels behind the retina leak blood and fluid, worsening vision and often causing blindness. An estimated 90% of the 1.4 million Americans who have lost their eyesight because of the disorder have the wet form.
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