, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 433-439
Date: 17 Dec 2008

Current status of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy in Europe

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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important modulator of angiogenesis, and has been implicated in the pathology of a number of conditions, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. AMD is a progressive disease of the macula and the third major cause of blindness worldwide. If not treated appropriately, AMD can progress rapidly, causing legal blindness within months of the second eye becoming affected. Until recently, the treatment options for AMD have been limited, with photodynamic therapy (PDT) the mainstay treatment. Although PDT is effective at slowing disease progression, it rarely results in improved vision. Pegaptanib and ranibizumab are both anti-VEGF therapies licensed for the treatment of neovascular AMD in Europe; however, these drugs are not yet available in Japan. This article reviews the available clinical data on anti-VEGF therapies for the treatment of neovascular AMD in Europe, and considers the future of this exciting therapy.