New Treatment for Eye Disease Reduces Need for Strong Drugs
- The S-antigen protein;
- A retinal antigen mix;
- A combination of the S-antigen protein and a retinal antigen mix; or
- A placebo.
Researchers found that a purified protein, called the retinal S-antigen, given orally to people with uveitis, allowed them to be weaned off these standard treatment drugs more readily than when given a placebo. It was also noted that when the dosing was reduced from three times a week to once a week, some patients had a recurrence of uveitis.
There were two surprising findings in the study:
The group that was fed the retinal antigen mix had poorer results than those receiving the placebo; and
The group receiving the combination of the S-antigen protein and retinal antigen mix yielded results similar to those receiving the placebo. Researchers had hoped that this combination group might yield results better than the placebo group and similar to those receiving solely the S-antigen protein.
Because the S-antigen protein can be produced in the laboratory and will become available for clinical use, researchers at the NEI hope to soon conduct another small study to determine the needed dosage. Autoimmune Inc., a public company located in Massachusetts, is developing the retinal S-antigen through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the NEI.