APR 22, 2020 8:03 PM PDT

Preventing Blindness in Premature Births

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

The premature birth of infants places them at risk for blindness because of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). To prevent ROP, infants could be treated with a dose of Avastin (bevacizumab). The conclusions were according to a dose-finding study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

"In the current study, we found that 0.004 mg of Avastin -- a dose that's merely 0.6% of the dose used in the 2011 study of Avastin for ROP -- may be the lower limit to be effective for most infants with ROP," says Dr. David Wallace of Indiana University School of Medicine. “The findings set the stage for a randomized controlled trial comparing long-term effects of low-dose Avastin with laser therapy for treating ROP.”

Learn more about ROP:

The reason preterm babies are at risk for blindness is because of the possibility of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina tissue. Vessel growth leads to detachment of the retina—and eventually ROP-related vision loss. With Avastin use, abnormal blood vessel growth will be prevented by the inhibition of the protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Current treatments for ROP include laser and cryo-therapeutics but Avastin may provide a better and effective option. Avastin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for treating cancer,

"As a faster and easier treatment option, anti-VEGF eye injections were a welcomed alternative to laser therapy for treating severe ROP," adds Dr. Wallace. "But we know that anti-VEGF agents injected into the eye also get into the bloodstream, and doctors worry that inhibiting VEGF systemically could interfere with normal development of brain, lung, bone, and kidney tissues.”

Source: Science Daily



About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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