Eye injection Aflibercept proves effective in Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy (PCV), common in Asia Pacific

December 11, 2017

Pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer recently announced that its anti-VEGF treatment aflibercept solution for injection into the eye is effective as monotherapy in patients who have Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy (PCV).

PCV is a subtype of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) that is particularly prevalent in Asia Pacific. Wet AMD is a leading cause of blindness globally, and in Asia Pacific, the prevalence of wet AMD is estimated to soar to 17 million in 2040 from 7 million in 20101.

This important finding was from the PLANET study, a key clinical trial in PCV conducted mainly in Asia Pacific i.e. Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. The study compared the efficacy and safety of aflibercept monotherapy (where patients received sham rescue PDT) to aflibercept plus active rescue PDT in patients with PCV.

Professor Tien Yin Wong, principal investigator of the PLANET study and retinal specialist at Singapore National Eye Centre said, “Wet AMD is a leading cause of blindness globally and many Asian patients tend to have PCV. Over the two years of the PLANET study, the anti-VEGF agent aflibercept given as a monotherapy was effective for the majority of PCV patients and adding rescue PDT when given according to the study protocol did not provide additional functional or anatomic benefits.”

“This signifies that for most patients, anti-VEGF monotherapy using agents such as aflibercept can be established as a preferred first-line treatment option for patients with visual impairment due to PCV as this approach avoids the added burden and side effects of combination therapy with PDT. Additionally, it is encouraging that in the PLANET study, among patients treated with the anti-VEGF agent aflibercept as a monotherapy approach, more than 80% did not have active polyps at the end of the two year study. However, longer term studies are needed to further clarify the role of polyp outcomes in the management of PCV,” he added.

It is projected that about 17 million people in Asia Pacific will have wet AMD by 2040 .  The causes for PCV is not known, though researchers suspect that it is caused by factors such as smoking and age (older people are more likely to be affected). Furthermore, it is not known why it is prevalent among Asians.

Proactive and regular treatment is important for patients to preserve their vision. After all, the impact of vision loss is various. Those who suffer from it require assistance in administrative tasks, self-care, driving and leisure activities. They are also more likely to fall as well as risk of having depression, even if one eye is affected.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals, Rehabilitative care

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