Pfizer's Macugen may improve vision in diabetic macular edema patients

NEW YORK An investigational treatment for a complication of diabetes that often leads to blindness worked better at improving vision than those receiving a placebo-like therapy, according to results of a late-stage clinical study announced Saturday.

Pfizer announced results of a phase 3 study of Macugen (pegaptanib sodium), for diabetic macular edema, a leading cause of blindness in people of working age.

According to the study, 37% of patients treated with Macugen were able to read two more lines of letters on the ETDRS eye chart after 54 weeks, compared with 20% of those who received a placebo-like procedure consisting of anesthesia and simulated eye injections, or a “sham” procedure.

“These encouraging phase 3 results demonstrate that Macugen has the potential to improve vision in people with DME, a serious complication of chronic diabetes,” Pfizer global clinical lead for Macugen Marla Sultan said. “Currently there are no approved pharmaceutical treatments for DME, and when left untreated, about 1-out-of-4 people with this condition will develop moderate vision loss within three years.”