Research ArticleRetinopathy

Tyrosine kinase blocking collagen IV–derived peptide suppresses ocular neovascularization and vascular leakage

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Science Translational Medicine  18 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 373, eaai8030
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8030

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A better drug for diseases of the retina

Blood vessel misbehavior causes several retinal diseases, including macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Injections of the current treatment aflibercept can hold these diseases at bay but cannot reverse pathology, and the effects do not last long, dictating frequent injections. Lima e Silva et al. have now come up with something better. Rather than a large antibody-like protein like aflibercept, they have zeroed in on the tiny peptides that naturally prevent blood vessel overgrowth in the body. They find that AXT107, a peptide derived from collagen IV, does the trick. In multiple mouse and rabbit models of retinal disease, this agent works as well as or better than aflibercept—perhaps because it inhibits multiple growth factor pathways, not just VEGF. As a bonus, AXT107 gathers as a gel within the eye, allowing it to inhibit disease for longer periods of time. AXT107 may form the basis of a new generation of drugs to augment current approaches to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.