Ranibizumab is used in the treatment of various eye diseases in adults which cause damage to the retina, thereby impairing vision. In these diseases, a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) causes excessive blood vessels to form within the retina, resulting in a progressive loss of central vision. In many cases, this process leads to a severe visual impairment or even blindness.
Due to the increasing aging in our society, the proportion of the population affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has increased significantly in over recent years and decades. Today, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in developed countries among people over 50. The disease causes 32 percent of new blindness, followed by glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, each at 16 percent. Worldwide, at least 25 to 30 million people are affected, with some estimates ranging from 30 to 50 Million. Every year, some 500,000 new cases are added.
In Germany alone, some two million people suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In the advanced stage of the disease, a distinction is made between a dry and a wet form of macular degeneration, while around 10-15% of all AMD patients suffer from the more dangerous form of neovascular, age-related, respectively wet macular degeneration (nAMD). Here, proliferating pathological new blood vessels in the retina cause the faster progressive loss of central vision.
In this case ranibizumab plays an important role in the treatment of neovascular or “wet” age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). Treatment with ranibizumab inhibits certain growth factors involved in the formation of new vessels, with the result that deterioration of visual performance can be slowed down or even stopped altogether.