A Europe-wide research study, that staff and patients at the James Paget have played an important role in, has reported positive results in tackling a condition which causes blindness.
The James Paget was one of eight leading retinal centres, based in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and France, to take part in the LumiThera Lightsite II clinical study, which is trialling a treatment for those with a condition called intermediate dry age-related macular degeneration.
The trial has been delivered at the James Paget with support provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in people aged over 60 in the western world and, for the dry form of the disease, there is currently no effective proven treatment.
The LumiThera treatment uses the Valeda Light Delivery System to stimulate cells in the retina with light in a process called ‘photobiomodulation’. The cells respond to light of certain wavelengths and are ‘reset’ by the treatment so they use energy more effectively. The hope is this will stop cells dying prematurely.
The trials saw patients with intermediate dry age-related macular degeneration at the James Paget, and other sites, given three rounds of photobiomodulation sessions every four months. No safety issues were identified during the course of the trial and the results demonstrated a statistically significant improvement for those receiving the treatment.
The pilot trials, while having a relatively small sample size, have shown positive results and the photobiomodulation treatment is now completing a pivotal trial in the United States called LIGHTSITE III.
Consultant Ophthalmologist Professor Ben Burton (pictured), who is James Paget’s Clinical Director of Research & Development and also an honorary professor at the University of East Anglia, said; "The data strongly suggests that the Valeda Light Delivery System can provide a safe, non-invasive treatment opportunity for dry AMD patients with limited options.
"The earlier stage subjects in the study averaged impaired vision between 20/32 and 20/40, so being able to prevent further vision loss and potentially slowing the progression of disease would be a huge benefit for patients.”