DME is the leading cause of blindness in diabetics.  Chronically elevated blood glucose levels in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can lead to inflammation, vascular dysfunction and hypoxia, causing upregulation of members of the VEGF family of growth factors. 

Members of the VEGF family, including VEGF-A and VEGF-C, stimulate vascular permeability or vascular leakage.  Elevated levels of VEGF-A and VEGF-C can lead to fluid accumulation in the macula at the back of the eye and retinal thickening which affects vision. 

Existing standard of care treatments for DME are limited and include inhibitors of VEGF-A, steroids and laser therapy.  Despite these treatments, many patients remain refractory and have a sub-optimal response to therapy with persistent fluid and impaired vision. 

OPT-302 blocks VEGF-C and VEGF-D, which cause vessels to grow and leak.  Used in combination with a VEGF-A inhibitor, OPT-302 has the potential to improve clinical outcomes in DME patients. 

Opthea is initiating a study to investigate OPT-302 administered in combination with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor A (anti-VEGF-A) therapy for the treatment of persistent / refractory central-involved diabetic macular edema (DME).

DME is estimated to affect approximately 2 million people globally1,2.  It is estimated that up to 7% of people with diabetes may have DME2, with ~25% of Type 1 diabetics developing DME within 9 years of disease onset, and ~28% of Type 2 diabetics developing DME at 20 years after diagnosis3.

  1. Ding J, Wong TY.  Current epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.  Curr Diab Rep. 12: 346-354, 2012.
  2. Lee R, Wong TY, Sabanayagam C.  Epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema and related vision loss.  Eye and Vision. 2:17, 2015.
  3. Managing Diabetic Eye Disease in Clinical Practice.  Singh RP (ed). Springer International Publishing 2015.