Ongoing clinical trials for AMD at Casey Eye Institute

Studies for wet macular degeneration

Ocular implant (LADDER Study)

Purpose: To compare the effects of an ocular implant that releases one of three different doses of ranibizumab (Lucentis) to injections of ranibizumab. The study implant releases the study drug continuously for a prolonged period of time and can be refilled by your doctor when needed. This approach may decrease the need for frequent injections into the eye. This Phase 2 study is recruiting newly diagnosed wet AMD patients age 50 or older who meet other eligibility criteria. 

Contact: Ann Lundquist, 503 494-6364

Injectable mediation for wet AMD (SEQUOIA Study)

Purpose: To compare the safety and effectiveness of the study drug abicipar pegol to ranibizumab (Lucentis) in patients with an eye newly diagnosed with wet AMD. Abicipar pegol is an anti-VEGF agent that may be more long lasting than some current therapies for wet AMD. This Phase 3 study will be recruiting patients age 50 or older who have at least one eye with wet AMD that has not been treated. Other eligibility requirements also apply.

Contact: Shelley Hanel, 503 494-1986

Gene therapy for wet AMD (GEM Study)

Purpose: To evaluate the safety and dosing levels of a gene-based treatment, RetinoStat®, for wet AMD. In this study, two helpful genes are delivered directly to the retina, where they "turn on" proteins that block abnormal blood vessel growth in a sustained fashion. Enrollment is completed and study patients are being followed.

Contact: Ann Lundquist, 503 494-6364

Studies for dry macular degeneration

Lampalizumab for advanced dry AMD (SPECTRI, CHROMA and OMASPECT)

Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of lampalizumab in patients with geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of dry AMD. The medication, given by injection into the eye, targets an enzyme that may encourage dry AMD to develop. The studies are examining changes in vision and the area of GA.

In the two parent studies, SPECTRI and CHROMA, participants were treated with either lampalizumab or placebo. Both the study patients and researchers were unaware of the treatment assignment. Enrollment in these Phase 3 studies is completed and patients are being followed. Those who complete all of their study visits can enroll in the extension OMASPECT study. This clinical trial is open-label, meaning that all participants will receive the study medication.

Contact: Mitchell Schain, 503 494-3115

BEACON Study (Implantable medication for dry AMD)

Purpose: To learn if an implantable medication, Brimonidine, is safe and effective for treating geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of dry AMD. Brimonidine, used in eye drop form to treat glaucoma, has been shown to protect cells in the retina. In this Phase 2 study, a tiny pellet was implanted into the eye's vitreous that releases the medication to the retina over a sustained period of time. Enrollment is completed and study patients are being followed.

Contact: Ann Lundquist, 503 494-6364

Other studies

Genetics of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study

Purpose: To find genetic mechanisms associated with AMD, which will lead to more accurate early detection and precise treatments.  Researchers are using advanced whole genome sequencing technology to find gene variations in large families and other populations affected by AMD.  The study is supported in part by a major grant from the National Eye Institute.

Contact: Jennifer Maykoski, 503 494-3064

Advanced imaging trials

Purpose: To test the capabilities of high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) in patients with dry or wet AMD. OCT uses light waves to produce extremely detailed cross-sectional images of eye structures.  Investigators are studying whether this new version of OCT can visualize and measure blood vessel growth as well as fluorescein angiography, which involves the injection of a contrasting agent to highlight the problem vessels. The team is also comparing how retinal anatomy and blood flow differ among study patients in early, intermediate and advanced dry AMD. 

Contact:  Denny Romfh, 503 494-4351 or Omkar Thaware, 503 494-7398

Association between advanced AMD and alterations in the gut microbiome

Purpose: To learn whether associations exist between gastrointestinal tract gut bacteria and AMD. Researchers will also explore the connection between an individual's genes and the activity of the gut bacteria. The study is limited to a select group of participants enrolled in the Genetics of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study.

Contact:  Jennifer Maykoski, 503 494-3064

Diet and vision study (Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2)

Purpose:  To learn whether the levels of pigment in the eye’s macula is a risk marker for the development of AMD and loss of retina function with age. The study is also evaluating whether macular pigment declines with age and if so, what factors play a role. Macular pigment is made up of the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are highly concentrated in healthy retinas. These nutrients, known as carotenoids, are found in green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.  Macular pigment may protect the macula by acting as an anti-oxidant and absorbing harmful blue light.

CAREDS 2 is an offshoot of the national Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which has tracked the health of post-menopausal women since 1991. The study is limited to participants in the original CAREDS and involves gathering information about health and lifestyle habits, testing blood serum and macular pigment levels, and taking retina photos.

Contact: Jennifer Maykoski, 503 494-3064