New Clinical Trials for AMD

Last updated: October 2022

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a form of vision loss caused by damage to the retina, specifically, a part called the macula. There are 2 forms of AMD: dry and wet.1

Current treatments

Dry AMD is much more common than wet AMD. It is caused by thinning of the retina and buildup of a protein called drusen. There are currently no treatments for dry AMD, but some people may benefit from taking a mix of vitamins.1

Wet AMD is rare but much more serious because it progresses faster. It is caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye. People with wet AMD have a high vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF.

Currently, their condition is often treated with anti-VEGF drugs. These drugs are injected into the eyes to slow blood vessel growth. Wet AMD is also sometimes treated with laser eye treatments.1

New research

Researchers are currently working to better understand both wet and dry AMD. They are searching for new treatments and drugs that could slow, stop, or reverse the effects of these conditions. There are currently over 2,000 clinical trials worldwide focusing on AMD. Read on to learn about some of the active clinical trials in the United States.2

Clinical trials for dry AMD

Effect of Oral Curcumin Supplementation in Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Patients

This is an active trial from the University of Chicago studying people living with dry AMD. Nutrition is very important to prevent the buildup of drusen protein in the macula. Curcumin is an antioxidant found in turmeric that can slow the buildup of certain proteins. This study is looking to see if long-term curcumin supplements can reduce drusen buildup.3

Vitamin A Palmitate Supplementation in People With Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Delayed Dark Adaptation

The National Institutes of Health is conducting this trial in Maryland to study the effect of vitamin A on dry AMD. People living with dry AMD often struggle with poor vision at night because their retinas cannot adjust to low light. Vitamin A is known to be important for good vision. So this study is looking to see if taking vitamin A can improve night vision for those with dry AMD.4

Clinical trials for wet AMD

Carbidopa-Levodopa in Dry AMD

Despite the name, this is an active trial looking at wet AMD. Carbidopa-levodopa is a medicine used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It increases the amount of dopamine in the brain.5

Researchers previously found that people who have taken L-DOPA (another drug that increases dopamine) developed dry AMD later in life than those who have not. This is because dopamine decreases VEGF in the eye.5
This study is looking to see if carbidopa-levodopa has a similar effect on people with wet AMD. If so, it could be an effective new treatment for wet AMD.5

RGX-314 Gene Therapy Pharmacodynamic Study for Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Occurring in multiple states across the United States, this study is looking at a new treatment for wet AMD. Current first-line treatment for wet AMD includes multiple injections of anti-VEGF drugs into the eye. This study is looking at the safety and effectiveness of a gene therapy that would require only 1 or 2 total doses.6

The injections would contain RGX-314, a small piece of DNA that creates an anti-VEGF protein. Researchers hope that this could replace the need for life-long injections.6

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial for AMD, ask your doctor if you are eligible for any trials in your area.

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