It was a privilege to attend the EURETINA Congress, a meeting of the European Society of Retina Specialists, held in Vienna in September. Apart from the simply awesome city which was the venue of the meeting, it was gratifying to learn that much of the latest technology available to the world, in terms of the diagnosis and treatment of retinal and macular diseases, is also currently available right here in the south west of Victoria.
Nevertheless, there was also much to discover in relation to new technology and treatment modalities that are just on the horizon.
For example, I was very excited to learn that a number of longer acting drugs and a slow release device are about to be introduced, which will mean that patients, who need regular eye injections for macular disease will soon see benefits in reduced frequency of injections and a longer interval between injections of up to 6 months!
Three new drugs - brolucizamab, abicipar pegol and conbercept are undergoing final trials and all show great promise as longer acting agents than the currently available ones, which only have, at best, 6-8 weekly dosing regimes (although a small number of fortunate patients can tolerate extensions of injection intervals longer than this). These three new drugs have been proven to be effective at 12 weekly dosing intervals, so may optimistically be extended in some to 4, or even 5, monthly dosing intervals, which will be a relief to very many patients in the region.
Additionally, a device that could delay the retreatment interval for 6 months or more may soon be available. The Port Delivery System or PDS, is an infusion device that is similar to a reservoir that is implanted in the eye, which is then filled with the active drug for treatment of macular diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic macular oedema (DMO). The results of a study completed earlier this year showed that 80% of patients fitted with this device went 6 months or more before requiring a refill. And the refill procedure is much less traumatic or troublesome than an eye injection (even if the eye injection is only minimally uncomfortable using modern anaesthetic techniques). This will surely be music to the ears (and eyes?) of both patients as well as their long suffering but wonderful carers!
For more details on the Port Delivery System, click the link below:
Dr Vincent Lee,