Diabetic macular edema (DME) seems to be a leading cause of blindness in most developed countries. Recently, Novartis introduced Lucentis (ranibizumab) that probably treats patients with visual impairment because of DME. Claimed to be designed for use in the eye, Lucentis is both safe as well as effective.
Two previously initiated clinical trials, RESTORE and RESOLVE affirmed that Lucentis is far better in providing rapid and sustained visual acuity gain than sham (dummy therapy) or laser therapy. It is known that sham and laser therapy are the current standard of care. In the RESTORE study, it was concluded that patients treated with Lucentis or Lucentis along with laser therapy have an average 5.9 letters in visual acuity at 12 months. On the other hand, 5.5 letters were obtained in visual acuity after a year as per the standard ETDRS eye chart.
According to the RESOLVE study, Lucentis-treated patients have an average 11.7 letters gain in visual acuity at 12 months than sham-treated patients, among whom some were also subjected to laser therapy. Even a US study claims that 50 percent patients treated with Lucentis and laser therapy reported enhancement in their visual acuity by 10 letters or more as compared to 28 percent with laser therapy. David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals and colleagues highlight that Lucentis was either provided as a monotherapy or combined with laser treatment during the investigations.
Lucentis was developed by Genentech and Novartis.