Moorfields has confirmed it will participate in a clinical trial which aims to evaluate a new therapeutic treatment using eye drops to treat patients in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.
The hospital will be one of 11 centres across Europe taking part in the trial under the umbrella EUROCONDOR, the European Consortium on the early treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
The study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new therapeutic eye drop treatment based on two neuroprotective drugs, somatostatin and brimonidine. Researchers will recruit 41 patients for the trial, with screening scheduled to begin at the end of the month.
Consultant ophthalmologist Cathy Egan, who will be leading the trial at Moorfields, said: “Small blood vessel damage has been the primary focus of investigation and therapy in this disorder for some time, but there has been a longstanding interest in the neurodegenerative aspects of diabetic retinopathy and whether you can modify this.”
As a result of growing evidence which suggests that retinal neurodegeneration plays an role in the onset of the condition, EUROCONDOR will conduct controlled phase II and phase III studies to assess whether therapeutic strategies based on neuroprotection are effective not only in preventing or arresting retinal neurodegeneration, but also in stopping the development and progression of the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.
Ms Egan added: “The trial is an important step in the development of a new, non-invasive treatment for this devastating complication of diabetes, given early in the disease. We also hope that the finding of this research will pave the way for new screening systems that will allow us to diagnose diabetic retinopathy at earlier stages, which in turn would allow us to provide better care for our patients.”
The EUROCONDOR project began in March 2012, and is expected to be completed in February 2016.