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The National Retina Institute is home to various clinical research trials. Several are part of nationwide efforts to identify technologies or treatments for preventing, arresting, or reversing sight-threatening disorders. We hope that the research we conduct will be beneficial to all of our patients in the future.
Clinical research trials are studies to test new drugs, biologics, and devices. They are carefully conducted and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Investigational substances or devices can be studied in humans only after they have been through rigorous laboratory and animal testing.
The National Retina Institute has been involved with clinical research for decades. We have been involved in the research and resulting approval of many medications that are now part of the standard treatment for retinal diseases. Most recently NRI physicians conducted part of the research that led to the approval of the anti-VEGF drugs Macugen® and Lucentis® for use in macular degeneration. More information about Macugen® can be found at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/new01146.html. More information on Lucentis® can be found at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01405.html.
Our involvement in clinical trials stems from our desire to find the best treatment for our patients.
Current Research Conducted at NRI:
We are currently involved in several clinical studies that give hope to those with retinal eye diseases. Some of these trials focus on the influence of the VEGF growth factor and its role in developing new blood vessels.
Our purpose is to study the efficacy of the new drugs and how those drugs relate to vision loss and new blood vessel growth. These studies use intravitreal injections to inhibit anti-VEGF agents.
We have also just begun a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of microplasmin, administered as an intravitreal injection, in subjects with focal vitreomacular adhesion. In previously performed clinical trials, some patients treated with intravitreal microplasmin have had resolution of their underlying condition, including macular hole closure, without need for vitrectomy.
Additionally, clinical trials are currently underway involving Novavision’s Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) device for macular degeneration. This device focuses on use of the Preferred Retinal Locus (PRL) to determine if repetitive stimulation to the PRL using the VRT device will help patients with recovering some of their lost vision.
Of course, research on the vitreous proteome (LINK) is ongoing and continually uncovering new information that will lead to individualized treatment for our patients.
How to Participate in a Clinical Trial at NRI:
Any eye care specialist can recommend a patient to be considered for an NRI clinical research trial.
Quite often, patients learn about studies from NRI even before their referring physicians. Let your referring doctor know about the study that interests you. Your doctor can help decide if the study applies to your circumstances and can provide NRI with useful information about your medical history.
Patients also should feel free to contact NRI directly. If you think you might qualify for an NRI study, please call the Clinical Trials Department at 1-443-921-4167.