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Study hails "sight-saving" drug

Two patients threatened with blindness by a rare inherited condition have had their sight saved by the drug Avastin, a consultant has claimed.

Professor Andrew Lotery said the treatment had never before been used to fight Sorsby's Fundus Dystrophy (SFD), but added that the results were encouraging.

SFD, an early onset form of macular degeneration, had caused the patients, both in their 30s, to suffer blurred vision and a general deterioration of sight.

The professor said he had resorted to Avastin because of a lack of other effective treatments for the condition.

"As patients in the past have not responded well to treatments for SFD and because the mutations that lead to the condition are still not yet fully understood, we wanted to investigate other methods of treatment, including the use of Avastin," said Professor Lotery.

The drug works by halting the growth of blood vessels and stemming bleeding, and is commonly injected with good results into the eyes of patients with "wet" age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in the Western world in people over 50.

Professor Lotery's findings have been accepted by US journal Retinal Cases & Brief Reports.

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Retinal Cases & Brief Reports