Principal investigator Mr Mahi Muqit, consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and honorary clinical lecturer at UCL
Moorfields Eye Hospital has won a £1.2m grant from the Medical Research Council for a study to reduce the complications of surgery for retinal detachment.
The clinical trial, run with the Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU) at University College London (UCL), is an early phase drug discovery to explore a new application for an established medicine. It aims to reduce sight loss by eliminating retinal scarring from tissue known as proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).
Surgery for retinal detachment is generally successful but up to 15% of patients develop scarring due to PVR that prevents permanent re-attachment. Increasing areas of the retina are detached by scar tissue causing sight loss. Repeated operations to remove the tissue often result in poor outcomes.
The Phase I trial aims to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of an anti-inflammatory medicine and method of treatment. The drug is applied directly to the inside of the patient’s eye. Researchers at Moorfields will study 50 patients to find the best dose.
Principal investigator Mr Mahi Muqit, consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and honorary clinical lecturer at UCL (pictured), said: “Over the past 10 years at Moorfields, integrating research into my NHS clinical practice, I have led a number of retina translational research trials investigating novel treatments and medical devices for sight-threatening/blinding eye conditions.
“We now have the opportunity to lead an innovative drug discovery trial of a new anti-scarring agent to potentially stop PVR development in retinal detachment. I am excited by the chance to explore whether we can demonstrate a satisfactory safety profile and signal of effect for this new medication.
“This treatment has the potential to reduce the number of people with PVR retinal detachment losing their eyesight leading to long-term patient benefit. Retinal detachment is our most common retinal surgical emergency, and a new therapy to improve patient outcomes would be welcomed by the vitreoretinal community and above all by our patients.”
Professor Nick Freemantle, director of UCL CCTU, said: “I am delighted to announce the funding for this exciting Phase I trial. It has been a highly competitive process and I am pleased that we are now able to begin translational research into this promising treatment for retinal detachment.”