Success Story: The First Therapy for Diabetic Retinopathy.

Over the course of two decades, intense and collaborative efforts uncovered the biological underpinnings of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in regulating blood vessel growth, and its role in promoting vascular disease inside the eye. Together, these multiple investigations laid the foundation for a new class of inhibitors that thwart the growth of leaky, new blood vessels that can lead to vision loss.

In 2004, anti-VEGF drug pegaptanib (Macugen®) received FDA approval for treating AMD, followed by ranibizumab (Lucentis®) in 2006. In 2010, Lucentis® also gained approval as the first pharmacological treatment for diabetic retinopathy: the first therapy to improve vision for this condition.