Avastin May be Used to Treat Bowel Cancer

UK researchers shared that Avastin, a drug used to treat bowel cancer, should also be prescribed to patients with a condition that leads to vision loss. Though it is not approved for age-related macular degeneration, a study suggested that the drug is "superior to standard care" and is less cheap than the current medication.

The leading cause of sight loss in patients over the age of 50 in Europe and North America is age-related macular degeneration. "Dry" AMD causes gradual loss of central vision.

A pilot study was conducted by the researchers at three eye centers in London, Bristol and Cheltenham in 131 patients with wet AMD. They revealed that Avastin was "superior to standard care". On an experimental basis, tiny quantities of Avastin have been injected into the eyes of patients by the ophthalmologists around the world, who have reported success.

Roche, the drug firm that markets Avastin, has not applied for the drug to be utilized for wet AMD. Until good evidence was available on the safety and effectiveness of Avastin, patients should be treated with Lucentis, shared Barbara McLaughlan, RNIB campaigns manager for eye health and social care.