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Arshad Khanani, MD: A Breakthrough in Geographic Atrophy Treatment

A post-AAO 2022 discussion on avacincaptad pegol in GA and what this groundbreaking treatment represents in filling a currently unmet need.

The 2022 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in Chicago was host to a multitude of ground-breaking discussions for the field and new data on gamechanging agents.

One of the most notable topics discussed was the advancements in geographic atrophy (GA) treatment. A form of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are no current treatments for the debilitating disease.

Avacincaptad pegol is a pegylated RNA aptamer designed to be a specific inhibitor of complement C5, ultimately slowing inflammation and cell death associated with the development and progression of GA

In this episode of DocTalk, we spoke with Arshad Khanani, MD, Director of Clinical Research, Sierra Eye Associates, on findings from the GATHER2 trial on avacincaptad pegol for the treatment of GA. Khanani presented the efficacy data at the conference.

Throughout our conversation, Khanani laid out the first-time efficacy results of the phase 3 trial and its patient population, the safety of the agent, and how this agent might alleviate the biggest unmet need in retina today.

"The bottom line is that the GATHER2 study met the prespecified endpoint, just like the GATHER1 study, and avacincaptad pegol is the first investigational therapy in GA to achieve the 12-month pre-specified primary endpoint in two pivotal phase 3 studies," Khanani said.

In terms of safety, he added there were no cases of intraocular inflammation, endophthalmitis, or ischemic optic neuropathy in the trial, suggesting a favorable safety profile for the agent.

Khanani spoke to the greater devestation of the disease as patients face it over time and the way a treatment will ultimately change their lives.

"I think it's a breakthrough in terms of having any treatment for this devstating disease that progresses in 100% of patients 100% of the time and takes their independence away," he said. "I think what we have learned from this trial is to initiate treatment early so we can have a slow down of this disease."

He called to mind the introduction of anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy as a groundbreaking treatment that ultimately was built on and it became better for patients.

"I think we will continue to learn together to advance the field and have better and better treatments for our patients," Khanani said. "But this is a great start where we have a treatment that can help slow down the disease for our patients with GA."

For more in-depth coverage from AAO 2022, visit our conference page here.