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1.  Phase 2a Randomized Clinical Trial: Safety and Post Hoc Analysis of Subretinal rAAV.sFLT-1 for Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration 
EBioMedicine  2016;14:168-175.
Background
We present the results of a Phase 2a randomized controlled trial investigating the safety, and secondary endpoints of subretinal rAAV.sFLT-1 gene therapy in patients with active wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD).
Methods
All patients (n = 32), (ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT01494805), received ranibizumab injections at baseline and week 4, and thereafter according to prespecified criteria. Patients in the gene therapy group (n = 21) received rAAV.sFLT-1 (1 × 1011 vg). All patients were assessed every 4 weeks to the week 52 primary endpoint.
Findings
Ocular adverse events (AEs) in the rAAV.sFLT-1 group were mainly procedure related and self-resolved. All 11 phakic patients in the rAAV.sFLT-1 group showed progression of cataract following vitrectomy. No systemic safety signals were observed and none of the serious AEs were associated with rAAV.sFLT-1. AAV2 capsid was not detected and rAAV.sFLT-1 DNA was detected transiently in the tears of 13 patients. ELISPOT analysis did not identify any notable changes in T-cell response. In the rAAV.sFLT-1 group 12 patients had neutralizing antibodies (nAb) to AAV2. There was no change in sFLT-1 levels in bodily fluids. In the rAAV.sFLT-1 group, Best Corrected Visual Acuity (BCVA) improved by a median of 1.0 (IQR: − 3.0 to 9.0) Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) letters from baseline compared to a median of − 5.0 (IQR: − 17.5 to 1.0) ETDRS letters change in the control group. Twelve (57%) patients in the rAAV.sFLT-1 group maintained or improved vision compared to 4 (36%) in the control group. The median number of ranibizumab retreatments was 2.0 (IQR: 1.0 to 6.0) for the gene therapy group compared to 4.0 (IQR: 3.5 to 4.0) for the control group.
Interpretation rAAV.sFLT-1 combined with the option for co-treatment appears to be a safe and promising approach to the treatment of wAMD.
Funding
National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (AP1010405), Lions Eye Institute, Perth Australia, Avalanche Biotechnologies, Menlo Pk, CA, USA.
Highlights
•Subretinal injection of rAAV.sFLT-1 was found to be safe in 21 patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.•Visual acuity was maintained in gene therapy treated patients over the 52 week period.•The gene therapy treated group of patients had a trend towards fewer ranibizumab retreatments than the control group.
Wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) is a common cause of vision loss in the elderly. We propose to use gene therapy to treat this disease. This study reinforces the findings from our Phase 1 study examining the safety of the delivery of rAAV.sFLT-1 by subretinal injection as a form of treatment of wAMD. The findings from this trial demonstrate that the surgical subretinal administration of rAAV.sFLT-1 has a favorable safety profile and that it can potentially be used in conjunction with current therapies to provide an improved outcome in the treatment of wAMD.
doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.11.016
PMCID: PMC5161436  PMID: 27865764
Wet age related macular degeneration; AAV.sFLT-1; Gene therapy; Clinical trial
2.  A large genome-wide association study of age-related macular degeneration highlights contributions of rare and common variants 
Fritsche, Lars G. | Igl, Wilmar | Cooke Bailey, Jessica N. | Grassmann, Felix | Sengupta, Sebanti | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Burdon, Kathryn P. | Hebbring, Scott J. | Wen, Cindy | Gorski, Mathias | Kim, Ivana K. | Cho, David | Zack, Donald | Souied, Eric | Scholl, Hendrik P. N. | Bala, Elisa | Lee, Kristine E. | Hunter, David J. | Sardell, Rebecca J. | Mitchell, Paul | Merriam, Joanna E. | Cipriani, Valentina | Hoffman, Joshua D. | Schick, Tina | Lechanteur, Yara T. E. | Guymer, Robyn H. | Johnson, Matthew P. | Jiang, Yingda | Stanton, Chloe M. | Buitendijk, Gabriëlle H. S. | Zhan, Xiaowei | Kwong, Alan M. | Boleda, Alexis | Brooks, Matthew | Gieser, Linn | Ratnapriya, Rinki | Branham, Kari E. | Foerster, Johanna R. | Heckenlively, John R. | Othman, Mohammad I. | Vote, Brendan J. | Liang, Helena Hai | Souzeau, Emmanuelle | McAllister, Ian L. | Isaacs, Timothy | Hall, Janette | Lake, Stewart | Mackey, David A. | Constable, Ian J. | Craig, Jamie E. | Kitchner, Terrie E. | Yang, Zhenglin | Su, Zhiguang | Luo, Hongrong | Chen, Daniel | Ouyang, Hong | Flagg, Ken | Lin, Danni | Mao, Guanping | Ferreyra, Henry | Stark, Klaus | von Strachwitz, Claudia N. | Wolf, Armin | Brandl, Caroline | Rudolph, Guenther | Olden, Matthias | Morrison, Margaux A. | Morgan, Denise J. | Schu, Matthew | Ahn, Jeeyun | Silvestri, Giuliana | Tsironi, Evangelia E. | Park, Kyu Hyung | Farrer, Lindsay A. | Orlin, Anton | Brucker, Alexander | Li, Mingyao | Curcio, Christine | Mohand-Saïd, Saddek | Sahel, José-Alain | Audo, Isabelle | Benchaboune, Mustapha | Cree, Angela J. | Rennie, Christina A. | Goverdhan, Srinivas V. | Grunin, Michelle | Hagbi-Levi, Shira | Campochiaro, Peter | Katsanis, Nicholas | Holz, Frank G. | Blond, Frédéric | Blanché, Hélène | Deleuze, Jean-François | Igo, Robert P. | Truitt, Barbara | Peachey, Neal S. | Meuer, Stacy M. | Myers, Chelsea E. | Moore, Emily L. | Klein, Ronald | Hauser, Michael A. | Postel, Eric A. | Courtenay, Monique D. | Schwartz, Stephen G. | Kovach, Jaclyn L. | Scott, William K. | Liew, Gerald | Tƒan, Ava G. | Gopinath, Bamini | Merriam, John C. | Smith, R. Theodore | Khan, Jane C. | Shahid, Humma | Moore, Anthony T. | McGrath, J. Allie | Laux, Reneé | Brantley, Milam A. | Agarwal, Anita | Ersoy, Lebriz | Caramoy, Albert | Langmann, Thomas | Saksens, Nicole T. M. | de Jong, Eiko K. | Hoyng, Carel B. | Cain, Melinda S. | Richardson, Andrea J. | Martin, Tammy M. | Blangero, John | Weeks, Daniel E. | Dhillon, Bal | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Doheny, Kimberly F. | Romm, Jane | Klaver, Caroline C. W. | Hayward, Caroline | Gorin, Michael B. | Klein, Michael L. | Baird, Paul N. | den Hollander, Anneke I. | Fauser, Sascha | Yates, John R. W. | Allikmets, Rando | Wang, Jie Jin | Schaumberg, Debra A. | Klein, Barbara E. K. | Hagstrom, Stephanie A. | Chowers, Itay | Lotery, Andrew J. | Léveillard, Thierry | Zhang, Kang | Brilliant, Murray H. | Hewitt, Alex W. | Swaroop, Anand | Chew, Emily Y. | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | DeAngelis, Margaret | Stambolian, Dwight | Haines, Jonathan L. | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Weber, Bernhard H. F. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Heid, Iris M.
Nature genetics  2015;48(2):134-143.
Advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly with limited therapeutic options. Here, we report on a study of >12 million variants including 163,714 directly genotyped, most rare, protein-altering variant. Analyzing 16,144 patients and 17,832 controls, we identify 52 independently associated common and rare variants (P < 5×10–8) distributed across 34 loci. While wet and dry AMD subtypes exhibit predominantly shared genetics, we identify the first signal specific to wet AMD, near MMP9 (difference-P = 4.1×10–10). Very rare coding variants (frequency < 0.1%) in CFH, CFI, and TIMP3 suggest causal roles for these genes, as does a splice variant in SLC16A8. Our results support the hypothesis that rare coding variants can pinpoint causal genes within known genetic loci and illustrate that applying the approach systematically to detect new loci requires extremely large sample sizes.
doi:10.1038/ng.3448
PMCID: PMC4745342  PMID: 26691988
3.  Assessment of polygenic effects links primary open-angle glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:26885.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are leading causes of irreversible blindness. Several loci have been mapped using genome-wide association studies. Until very recently, there was no recognized overlap in the genetic contribution to AMD and POAG. At genome-wide significance level, only ABCA1 harbors associations to both diseases. Here, we investigated the genetic architecture of POAG and AMD using genome-wide array data. We estimated the heritability for POAG (h2g = 0.42 ± 0.09) and AMD (h2g = 0.71 ± 0.08). Removing known loci for POAG and AMD decreased the h2g estimates to 0.36 and 0.24, respectively. There was evidence for a positive genetic correlation between POAG and AMD (rg = 0.47 ± 0.25) which remained after removing known loci (rg = 0.64 ± 0.31). We also found that the genetic correlation between sexes for POAG was likely to be less than 1 (rg = 0.33 ± 0.24), suggesting that differences of prevalence among genders may be partly due to heritable factors.
doi:10.1038/srep26885
PMCID: PMC4886254  PMID: 27241461
4.  Myopia in Young Adults Is Inversely Related to an Objective Marker of Ocular Sun Exposure: The Western Australian Raine Cohort Study 
American journal of ophthalmology  2014;158(5):1079-1085.
PURPOSE
To determine the association between ocular sun exposure measured by conjunctival ultraviolet (UV) autofluorescence and myopic refractive error in young adults.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional study.
METHODS
SETTING
Population-based cohort in Western Australia.
STUDY POPULATION
Total of 1344 mostly white subjects aged 19–22 years in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Eye Health Study.
OBSERVATION PROCEDURES
Cycloplegic autorefraction, conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence photography, participant questionnaire.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Prevalence of myopic refractive error (spherical equivalent less than −0.50 diopters) and area of conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence in mm2.
RESULTS
There was an inverse relationship between myopic refractive error and ocular sun exposure, with more than double the prevalence of myopia in the lowest quartile of conjunctival autofluorescence than the highest quartile (33.0% vs 15.6%). Median area of autofluorescence was significantly lower in myopic than in nonmyopic subjects (31.9 mm2 vs 47.9 mm2, P < .001). These differences remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, parental history of myopia, and subject level of education. The use of corrective lenses did not explain the lower conjunctival autofluorescence observed in myopic subjects.
CONCLUSIONS
In this young adult population, myopic refractive error was inversely associated with objectively measured ocular sun exposure, even after adjustment for potential confounders. This further supports the inverse association between outdoor activity and myopia.
doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2014.07.033
PMCID: PMC4786165  PMID: 25072831
5.  Intraocular pressure rise is predictive of vision improvement after intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide for diabetic macular oedema: a retrospective analysis of data from a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Ophthalmology  2014;14:123.
Background
Intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide (IVTA) is an effective treatment for recalcitrant diabetic macular oedema (DMO). It has been shown to improve vision with benefits persisting up to five years. The most common initial side effect of IVTA treatment is rise in intraocular pressure, occurring in approximately 50% of patients within the first 6 months of treatment. We evaluated whether there is a correlation between the development of intraocular pressure rise and improvement in vision.
Methods
Analysis of individual data from 33 eyes of 33 participants treated with IVTA for DMO from a prospective, randomised, double-masked, placebo controlled trial. The degree of intraocular pressure (IOP) rise was correlated with improvement in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) at 1 and 6 months.
Results
The proportion of eyes gaining 5 or more logMAR letters was higher in eyes with greater IOP rise (p = 0.044). Better absolute improvement in BCVA at 6 months (p = 0.045) was also found in eyes with greater IOP rise. Regression analyses revealed a correlation between IOP rise of 10 or more mmHg and absolute BCVA improvement at 6 months (odds ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.48, p = 0.039), but not at 1 month.
Conclusions
IOP rise and vision improvement appear to be correlated following IVTA for DMO, suggesting that the mechanisms that cause both may be linked.
Trial Registration
Clinical trials.gov NCT00167518, September 5, 2005.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-14-123
PMCID: PMC4223852  PMID: 25335434
Intravitreal triamcinolone; Diabetic macular oedema; Vision improvement; Intraocular pressure rise; Adverse events; Efficacy
6.  Baseline central macular thickness predicts the need for retreatment with intravitreal triamcinolone plus laser photocoagulation for diabetic macular edema 
Purpose
To identify baseline characteristics that predict the number of treatments with intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide (IVTA) plus laser photocoagulation needed to treat diabetic macular edema over a 2-year period.
Methods
Individual data from 42 eyes of 42 participants treated with IVTA plus laser photocoagulation for diabetic macular edema during a prospective, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial were used for this post hoc analysis. Baseline characteristics – age, gender, best-corrected visual acuity, glycosylated hemoglobin, phakic status, intraocular pressure, and central macular thickness (CMT) – were correlated with the number of IVTA plus laser treatments received during the 2 years of this study.
Results
The median number of treatments received over the 2-year period was 2.5 (interquartile range 1.0–3.0), with 21 (50%) eyes needing three or more treatments. Eyes that received more IVTA plus laser treatments had a higher mean baseline CMT and eyes with a higher baseline CMT were more likely to receive three or more treatments (odds ratio 5.13, 95% confidence interval 1.75–15.04, P=0.003 per 100 μm increase in CMT). No significant relationship was found between other baseline characteristics and the number of IVTA plus laser treatments received.
Conclusion
Higher baseline CMT was strongly linked with receiving more IVTA plus laser treatments. These patients may be at higher risk of developing dose-dependent steroid-related adverse events, cataract progression, and intraocular pressure rise.
doi:10.2147/OPTH.S47424
PMCID: PMC3739543  PMID: 23946643
diabetic macular edema; intravitreal triamcinolone; central macular thickness
7.  An experimental study of VEGF induced changes in vasoactivity in pig retinal arterioles and the influence of an anti-VEGF agent 
BMC Ophthalmology  2012;12:10.
Background
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays an important role in ocular physiology. Anti-VEGF agents are now used for treatment of common retinal diseases. This study characterises the vasoactive properties of VEGF in isolated perfused pig retinal arterioles under normal tone or endothelin-1 (ET-1) pre-contracted conditions and determines the influence of an anti VEGF agent on VEGF induced vasoactivity.
Methods
An isolated perfused retinal arteriole preparation was used. The outer diameter of retinal vessels was monitored at 2 second intervals in response to VEGF and the anti VEGF agent, bevacizumab. The effect of intraluminal delivery of VEGF was determined over a wide concentration range (10-16 to 10-7 M) both with and without pre-contraction with ET-1 (3 x 10-9 M). Bevacizumab (0.35 mg mL-1) was applied extraluminally to determine the influence of bevacizumab on VEGF induced vasoactive changes on ET-1 pre-contracted vessels.
Results
In retinal arterioles with normal tone, VEGF induced a concentration dependent contraction at low concentrations, reaching 93.5% at 10-11 M and then contraction was reduced at higher concentrations, recovering to 98.1% at 10-7 M. VEGF produced a potent concentration dependent vasodilatation in arterioles pre-contracted with ET-1. VEGF induced vasodilatation in arterioles pre-contracted with ET-1 was significantly inhibited by bevacizumab.
Conclusions
VEGF induced vasoactive changes in pig retinal arterioles are dependent on concentration and vascular tone. Bevacizumab inhibits VEGF-induced vasodilatation in pre-contracted arterioles.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-10
PMCID: PMC3395563  PMID: 22642643
8.  Comparison of visual acuity outcomes between ranibizumab and bevacizumab treatment in neovascular age-related macular degeneration 
AIM
To compare visual acuity (VA) outcomes between intravitreal injection of bevacizumab and ranibizumab in the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
METHODS
We conducted a consecutive, retrospective case series study in patients with newly diagnosed all type choroidal neovascularization (CNV) secondary to AMD who received an intravitreal injection of bevacizumab (1.25mg) or ranibizumab (0.3mg) at Lions Eye Institute, Western Australia from Mar. 2006 to May 2008. All patients received injection at baseline with additional monthly injections given at the discretion of the treating physician. Main outcome measures were changes in VA.
RESULTS
There were 371 consecutive patients received injection at least in one eye with at least 6 months of follow up (median of 12.0 months). Bevacizumab treatment prevented 221 out of 278 (79.5%) patients from losing < 15 letters in VA compared with 79 out of 93 (84.9%) of ranibizumab treated patients (P=0.25). While 68 (24.5%) of bevacizumab treated patients gained ≥15 letters of VA compared with 24 (25.8%) of ranibizumab treated patients (P=0.79). 75.3% and 66.2% patients benefited from ranibizumab and bevacizumab respectively with final VA better than 6/60 (P=0.10). Multivariate analysis showed that pre-treatment VA was negatively associated with benefit outcome. Assignment of injection was not associated with VA outcome of benefit after adjusting the covariate (P=0.857).
CONCLUSION
There are no difference in treatment efficacy in terms of VA between bevacizumab and ranibizumab in routine clinical condition.
doi:10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2011.01.20
PMCID: PMC3340678  PMID: 22553617
age-related macular degeneration; anti-VEGF; bevacizumab; ranibizumab; choroidal neovascularization

Results 1-8 (8)