Lucentis for proliferative diabetic retinopathy

In a landmark clinical trial, Lucentis has demonstrated safety and effectiveness in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, providing the first new treatment for the condition in almost 40 years.


Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the eyes of patients with diabetes. The condition is associated with the growth of small blood vessels on the surface of the retina, which can lead to blindness.

Lucentis (Ranibizumab) is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the protein Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A), thereby inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels. Due to this activity, Lucentis has been approved in the treatment of macular degeneration.

A clinical trial assessing Lucentis in comparison with the current standard treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy was conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, and the results have now been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trial reported both safety and effectiveness of Lucentis in 305 patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Patients were treated in one eye with the standard laser therapy, and in the other eye with an injection of Lucentis. The study reported improvements in vision score (mean visual acuity) at the 2-year follow up period, that corresponded with approximately half a line on an eye chart, with Lucentis treatment compared with laser treatment. Lucentis treatment was also associated with less deterioration in peripheral vision when compared with laser.

The trial represents a milestone in treatment of proliferative diabetic neuropathy, since no major therapeutic advances have been made in almost 40 years. The researchers suggest that Lucentis may be a potential alternative to the current standard.



NIH News Release: “Lucentis effective for proliferative diabetic retinopathy” Available from: Last Accessed: November 16, 2015.

Writing Committee for the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network “Panretinal Photocoagulation vs Intravitreous Ranibizumab for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial” JAMA. Published online November 13, 2015








Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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