DRC & Research News

This page shares the latest news in T1D research and DRC’s community.

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Asthma Medication May Help Treat Diabetic Retinopathy

A common complication associated with diabetes (T1D) is diabetic retinopathy. Poor blood sugar control can increase risk of this disease because it impacts the blood flow to the eye by blocking and damaging tiny blood vessels. It can eventually lead to blindness. Symptoms can be very mild and barely noticeable at first, so this is often a condition that is treated in later stages when the effects become more severe.

However, a recent study found that the administration of an FDA-approved asthma medication – montelukast, also known as Singulair – may help reduce damage to blood vessels and nerves in and around the eye. This indication has only been tested in mouse models so far, but because it is already an FDA-approved medication for use in children and adolescents, this may decrease the time it takes to shift into human clinical trials.

Researchers found that the medication suppresses inflammation enough to alter the signaling of inflammatory molecules and prevent pathology, but not enough to compromise the body’s innate immunity. If found effective in human trials, it could be used as a prevention method as well as to treat diabetic retinopathy in its early stages. This could be beneficial to children who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and even those who have been managing the disease for several years and are at risk for eye disease.

Though not involved with this study, the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how it progresses and what findings show when used in human subjects. It is encouraging to see a potential new option for reducing risk of diabetic retinopathy and improving quality of life for individuals living with type 1 diabetes.

DRC supports early career scientists in pursuing novel, peer-reviewed research studies aimed at prevention, treatment, and an eventual cure for type 1 diabetes. To learn more about current projects and how to help, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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Can Eye Screening for Diabetic Kids Be Delayed a Bit?

Original article written by Robert Preidt via HealthDay News on September 9, 2015. Click here to read the original article.

Children with type 1 diabetes may not need to start screening for eye disease as early as currently recommended, a new study suggests.Can Eye Screening for Diabetic Kids Be Delayed a Bit?

Most children with type 1 diabetes probably don’t need a yearly exam for diabetes-related eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) until age 15, or 5 years after their diabetes diagnosis, whichever is later, the study authors reported online Sept. 1 in the journal Ophthalmology.

“Many of our young patients with diabetes diligently come in every year for screenings that consistently show no sign of the disease,” study co-author Dr. Gil Binenbaum, attending surgeon in the ophthalmology division at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a journal news release.

“Of course, that’s good news for them, and it is very important to have annual eye exams once the risk of vision loss develops. But, is it worth the burden on the family and the health care system if evidence shows that diabetic retinopathy doesn’t reach a treatable stage until years later?”

Early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy reduces vision loss in adults, the researchers said. Some medical groups currently recommend that screening start at age 9, or three to five years after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

But, this study found no evidence of diabetic retinopathy in 370 children who had at least one screening. And, that was true regardless of how long they had diabetes. It was also true whether their blood sugar levels were well controlled or not, the research showed. The children were all 18 or younger, and had type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Children with type 2 diabetes and those at high risk for diabetic complications should begin screening as soon as they are diagnosed with diabetes, the study authors said. Many people with type 2 diabetes live with uncontrolled disease before they are diagnosed, the researchers explained.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI). The eye disease affects nearly 8 million people in the United States, the NEI said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about diabetic retinopathy.

SOURCE: Ophthalmology, news release, Sept. 1, 2015

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FDA Approves New Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy in Patients

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common diabetic eye disease and is a leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes (type 1 and type 2) affects more than 29 million people in the United States and is the leading cause of new blindness among people ages 20 to 74 years. In 2008, 33 percent of adults with diabetes aged 40 years or older had some form of DR. In some cases of DR with diabetic macular edema (DME), abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Severe vision loss or blindness can occur if the new blood vessels break.

“Diabetes is a serious public health crisis, affecting more patients every year…”

“Diabetes is a serious public health crisis, affecting more patients every year,” said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval gives patients with diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema another therapy to treat this vision-impairing complication.”

In February, the FDA approved Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) 0.3 mg to treat DR in patients with DME.

Eylea is administered by a physician as an injection into the eye once a month for the first five injections and then once every two months. It is intended to be used along with appropriate interventions to control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The safety and efficacy of Eylea to treat DR in patients with DME were evaluated in 679 participants in two clinical studies where participants were randomly assigned to receive Eylea or macular laser photocoagulation, a laser-based treatment used to burn small areas of the retina. At week 100, participants being treated with Eylea showed significant improvement in the severity of their DR, compared to patients who did not receive Eylea.

The most common side effects associated with Eylea include bleeding of the conjunctiva (the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white part of the eye); eye pain; cataracts; floaters; increased pressure inside the eye (increased intraocular pressure); and separation of the interior jelly of the eye from the retina (vitreous detachment). Serious adverse reactions include infection within the eye (endophthalmitis) and retinal detachments.

The FDA granted breakthrough therapy designation to Eylea for the treatment of DR with DME. The FDA can designate a drug a breakthrough therapy at the request of the sponsor if preliminary clinical evidence indicates the drug may demonstrate a substantial improvement over available therapies for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions. The FDA also reviewed the new use for Eylea under the agency’s priority review program, which provides for an expedited review of drugs that demonstrate the potential to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment of a serious condition.

The FDA previously approved Eylea to treat wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration, a condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow and leak fluid into the macula. Eylea is also approved to treat DME and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusions, both of which cause fluid to leak into the macula resulting in blurred vision.

Eylea is marketed by Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Lucentis is marketed by South San Francisco, California-based Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche Pharmaceuticals.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/291488.php?tw

 

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