Dry Macular Degeneration Clinical Trials

Dry macular degeneration clinical trials are becoming more available as new treatments and earlier intervention is being researched.

From nanosecond laser therapy of macular drusen to eye injections, these clinical trials treat patients that have intermediate to advanced dry AMD. There are several things you will want to know when considering a clinical trial.

1.  Where is the Study Being Conducted

The clinical trials that are listed at www.clinicaltrials.gov include studies that are offered in the United States as well as abroad. So it is important to look at the location of the study.   Often the study will have several study locations. 

2.  What Phase Is the Study In

There are four phases of clinical trials. Phase 1 is the first stage that focuses on safety and recruits the smallest number of participants,  while a Phase 2 is looking more at the effectiveness of the therapy.

A Phase 3 will recruit a larger population and will continue to look at safety and effectiveness and may also evaluate different therapeutic dosages.

Here is a sampling of some current dry macular degeneration clinical trials:

1.  APL-2 Therapy in Patients with Geographic Atrophy 

Robin Guymer, ophthalmologist, retina specialist and deputy director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia is also the principal investigator of the Study of APL-2 Therapy in Patients with Geographic Atrophy (FILLY).  

With 40 testing sites in the United States and Australia, 246 patients were recruited to receive either monthly or every other month eye injections of a new compound APL-2 for 12 months. 

Eligible patients had a diagnosis of geographic atrophy, (GA) due to macular degeneration. 

Phase 2 clinical trial results report, "Patients were given injections either monthly or every other month for 12 months, resulting in a reduction in GA lesion growth of 29 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, compared to control patients.

Additionally, in a , a greater effect was observed during the second six months of the study: a reduction in GA lesion growth rate of 47 per cent with monthly administration, and a reduction of 33 per cent with every other month administration. Based on these positive results, Apellis plans to proceed with Phase 3 studies as soon as possible."

APL-2 Therapy in Patients with Geographic Atrophy

2.  Antibiotic to Treat Advanced Dry AMD

The National Eye Institute is looking to see if a common antibiotic, minocycline, will help those with geographic atrophy. (GA).

Dry macular degeneration has a slower progression of central vision loss due to the degeneration and loss of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and photoreceptors in the macula.

According to the description from ClinicalTrials.gov, "While the etiology of GA is not completely understood, inflammatory processes involving the activation of resident immune cells of the retina called microglia is likely to contribute. Minocycline inhibits the activation of microglia which produce inflammatory factors implicated in GA development. The objective of this study is to investigate the safety and possible efficacy of oral minocycline in patients with GA."

Forty participants who have GA in one or both eyes will be enrolled in the study. A 100 mg dose of minocycline will be taken twice daily for 36 months.   To find out more about this study visit:

Evaluation of Oral Minocycline in the Treatment of Geographic Atrophy Associated With Age-Related Macular Degeneration

3.  Non-Damaging Photothermal Therapy for Dry AMD

The sponsor and collaborator of this dry macular degeneration clinical trial are Stanford University and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.  Eligible participants must be at least 60 years old and have dry macular degeneration and "large high-risk drusen."  The goals of the study as stated by ClinicalTrial.gov are:

1.  To determine if this treatment will reduce macular drusen volume 

2.   Whether treatment will improve visual acuity

3.    If treatment will reduce the risk of conversion to advanced age-related macular degeneration defined as development of choroidal neovascularization (wet macular degeneration)  or geographic atrophy.

Here is a short video explaining how the non-damaging laser unit called Pascal Laser Endpoint Management System can be used in retinal diseases without tissue damage.

This macular degeneration study is a double blind placebo controlled study meaning that  participants will be randomized to receive the photo thermal therapy and others a "sham" laser treatment. 

Non-Damaging Photothermal Therapy of Non-exudative Age Related Macular Degeneration

4. Lampalizumab for Advanced Dry AMD 

The vast majority of those with age related macular degeneration have the dry form.

The advanced form of age related macular degeneration called geographic atrophy (GA) is gaining more attention as research scientists discover a greater understanding of the underlying causes and processes that lead to the development of this retinal condition. One of the identified processes, called the complement pathway, damages supporting tissue layers of the retina when it becomes activated.

In the Phase II MAHALO study, lampalizumab was shown to slow the progression rate of GA. The drug works by inhibiting complement factor D which is involved in the complement pathway, an immune system response associated with the development of age related macular degeneration. 

"This is the first positive treatment result for patients with dry age-related macular degeneration and geographic atrophy," states Frank Holz, MD, from the University of Bonn in Germany, told Medscape Medical News.

Researches are working to duplicate the positive MAHALO study results in two different clinical trials one of which is the SPECTRI study. This dry macular degeneration clinical trial is a Phase III study sponsored by Hoffman-La Roche and is seeking participants who have geographic atrophy with no sign of wet AMD or choroidal neovascularization in either eye.  There are 151 study centers worldwide including the US.

Find out about more about this study here:

SPECTRI Study

5.  Subcutaneous Elamipretide in Subjects with Intermediate AMD

"Elamipretide is an investigational drug with the potential to modify disease through its apparent ability to restore normal energy production in damaged mitochondria, while decreasing oxidative stress, " explains Stealth BioTherapeutics, the sponsor of the above clinical trial. 

Subjects who have one eye with intermediate AMD, including high-risk drusen without geographic atrophy (GA) and a subgroup of subjects with non-central GA will be recruited for this study.  Since it is a Phase I study looking at safety and tolerability only 40 patients will be recruited. 

dry amd research

Eligible patients must be 55 years and older with no evidence of wet macular degeneration - either active or a prior history of it in the study eye. There can be no evidence of a visually significant cataract or central GA involving the fovea.  The drug, elamipretide, which targets mitochondrial dysfunction, will be administered once daily  as a subcutaneous injection. 

Stealth BioTherapeutics Inc is the sponsor of the study and the principal investigator is Scott W. Cousins, MD from the Dept of Ophthalmology at Duke Eye Center. 

Phase I Clinical Study to Evaluate the Safety and Tolerability of Subcutaneous Elamipretide in Subjects with AMD

Dr. Cousins reports on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the dry-age related macular degeneration in Retina Today:  Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Dry AMD

6. A Safety Study of CNTO 2476 in Patients With AMD (Umbilical Cord Blood)

This clinical trial will evaluate the safety and response to one-time subretinal administration of Human Umbilical Tissue-Derived Cells (CNTO 2476) in patients who are experiencing vision loss due to geographic atrophy from dry macular degeneration.

Participants need to be 50 years old or older with a confirmed diagnosis of geographic atrophy in both eyes.

The sponsor is Janssen Research & Development, LLC and the study sites include Arcadia, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

7. Evaluate Treatment With ORACEA® for Geographic Atrophy

ORACEA® is the name of the medication that is to be given as a capsule daily for 24 months at a dose of 40 mg.

To be eligible the patient needs to be 55 Years to 85 years old with a diagnosis of geographic atrophy as a result of dry macular degeneration in at least one eye.

There are several study center sites from Texas to Connecticut.

Evaluate Treatment With ORACEA® for Geographic Atrophy

8. Safety and Tolerability of Sub-retinal Transplantation of hESC Derived RPE (MA09-hRPE) Cells in Patients With Advance Dry AMD

Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, California is participating in a Phase I/II study using stem cells in patients with advanced dry macular degeneration.

Participants must be 55 or older and not have any signs of wet macular degeneration. Because it is a Phase I study the number of participants is

The purpose of the study is "to evaluate the effect of subretinal injection of human embryonic stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelium cells in patients with dry AMD."

Find out more about this macular degeneration research here: Macular Degeneration and Stem Cells

9.  Early Intervention for AMD

Lead investigator Professor Robyn Guymer, who conducted a pilot study of the nanosecond laser in 2010-12, said: “The results were encouraging so we have decided to conduct a much larger proof of principle randomized trial. Patients reported that the laser treatment was completely painless. A few even wondered when the treatment was going to start, when it was actually already over.”

The name of the current study is Laser Intervention in Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study (LEAD). 

Check this study out here:

Low Energy Nanosecond Laser

10.  Argus II for Advanced Dry AMD

The Argus II is a system consisting of:

1. Implanted electrodes on the retina in a single eye

2. An external miniature video camera

3. A video processing unit

4.  Eyeglasses that include a transmitter

The process begins with the video camera taking images that are then sent to the video processor.  The processor wirelessly transmits the images as electrical impulses to the implanted electrodes.  To watch a video to see how this device works go to:

Argus II Clinical Trial

Research for dry macular degeneration involves early intervention before vision begins to deteriorate and late intervention for those who have the advanced dry form of geographic atrophy.

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