June 16, 2024
Revolutionizing Retinopathy of Prematurity Treatment

Revolutionizing Retinopathy of Prematurity Treatment: Ranibizumab Outshines Laser Therapy in Groundbreaking Study

A leading ophthalmologist from the University at Buffalo, renowned for his expertise in Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), has published a game-changing study in eClinical Medicine. This research could potentially transform the current standard of care for the condition, which affects low birthweight premature infants and may result in blindness if left untreated.

The study addresses a long-standing debate regarding the safest and most effective Menopause Treatment for ROP. The international randomized clinical trial, named RAINBOW, compared the efficacy and safety of ranibizumab to laser therapy in treating very low birthweight infants diagnosed with ROP.

For several decades, laser therapy has been the primary treatment method for ROP. This procedure involves burning the peripheral retina to halt the growth of abnormal blood vessels that develop in ROP. However, laser treatment is physically demanding for both the clinician and the baby, taking at least 60 minutes per eye, and may necessitate general anesthesia or heavy sedation. Infants who have undergone laser treatment have been observed to develop nearsightedness and may lose their peripheral vision as they grow older.

In 2011, the BEAT-ROP study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealing that anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents could also be effective in treating ROP. These agents, which include ranibizumab, work by inhibiting the excessive levels of VEGF that occur in ROP. They can be administered into the infant’s vitreous at the bedside in just minutes using only topical anesthesia, eliminating the need for prolonged heavy sedation with intubation.

The BEAT-ROP study caused a stir in the medical community when it showed that intravitreal injection of an anti-VEGF agent called bevacizumab was as effective as laser therapy. Anti-VEGF agents are commonly used to treat adult eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Despite the promising results, many doctors hesitated to adopt intravitreal bevacizumab due to safety concerns. James D. Reynolds, MD, senior author of the new study and Jerald and Ester Bovino Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, recalls the controversy. He wrote the editorial that accompanied the NEJM publication in 2011.

The BEAT-ROP study raised concerns about the potential harm anti-VEGF molecules could cause if they entered the bloodstream from the eye. The primary concern was whether they could negatively impact the developing brain. As a result, laser therapy remained the gold standard for ROP treatment until now.

The RAINBOW study, however, provides compelling evidence that ranibizumab is not only effective but also safer than laser therapy for treating ROP. This breakthrough could pave the way for a less invasive, more efficient, and potentially safer treatment option for premature infants with ROP.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.