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Subconjunctival sirolimus in the treatment of diabetic macular edema

  • Nupura Krishnadev
  • Farzin Forooghian
  • Catherine Cukras
  • Wai Wong
  • Leorey Saligan
  • Emily Y. Chew
  • Robert Nussenblatt
  • Frederick FerrisIII
  • Catherine Meyerle
Retinal Disorders

Abstract

Background

Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Sirolimus has been shown to inhibit the production, signaling, and activity of many growth factors relevant to the development of diabetic retinopathy. This phase I/II study assesses the safety of multiple subconjunctival sirolimus injections for the treatment of DME, with some limited efficacy data.

Methods

In this phase I/II prospective, open-label pilot study, five adult participants with diabetic macular edema involving the center of the fovea and best-corrected ETDRS visual acuity score of ≤74 letters (20/32 or worse) received 20 μl (440 μg) of subconjunctival sirolimus at baseline, month 2 and every 2 months thereafter, unless there was resolution of either retinal thickening on OCT or leakage on fluorescein angiography. Main outcome measures included best-corrected visual acuity and central retinal thickness on OCT at 6 months and 1 year, as well as safety outcomes.

Results

Repeated subconjunctival sirolimus injections were well-tolerated, with no significant drug-related adverse events. There was no consistent treatment effect related to sirolimus; one participant experienced a 2-line improvement in visual acuity and 2 log unit decrease in retinal thickness at 6 months and 1 year, two remained essentially stable, one had stable visual acuity but improvement of central retinal thickness of 1 and 3 log units at 6 months and 1 year respectively, and one had a 2-line worsening of visual acuity and a 1 log unit increase in retinal thickness at 6 months and 1 year. Results in the fellow eyes with diabetic macular edema, not treated with sirolimus, were similar.

Conclusions

Subconjunctival sirolimus appears safe to use in patients with DME. Assessment of possible treatment benefit will require a randomized trial.

Keywords

Sirolimus Diabetic retinopathy Macular edema mTOR 

Notes

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial conflict of interest. Although Macusight supplied the study drug, the authors have full control of all primary data, and agree to allow Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology to review the data upon request.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA)  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nupura Krishnadev
    • 1
  • Farzin Forooghian
    • 1
  • Catherine Cukras
    • 1
  • Wai Wong
    • 1
  • Leorey Saligan
    • 1
  • Emily Y. Chew
    • 1
  • Robert Nussenblatt
    • 1
  • Frederick FerrisIII
    • 1
  • Catherine Meyerle
    • 1
  1. 1.National Eye Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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