New AMD studies

Epimacular brachytherapy for wet (neovascular) AMD

There are many new treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) under evaluation.  I am UK Chief Investigator for a surgical study looking at focal radiation treatment, applied inside the eye to the new vessels that cause wet AMD.  It is thought that this may provide a more permanent treatment than injections such as Lucentis and Avastin, which need to be repeated at regular intervals. It may also provide a better visual outcome, but until the study is completed this cannot be confirmed.  This multicentre study is called CABERNET and will be undertaken in a limited number of UK NHS hospitals and other international sites.  The treatment is called epimacular brachytherapy. The device that delivers the radiation was called EpiRad but the latest version has been labelled Vidion. These devices have been developed by the sponsors of the tial (
NeoVista), a private biotechnology company based in the USA.  Following on from CABERNET I have set up a study (MERITAGE) using the device in patients who have commenced treatment with anti-VEGF drugs (Avastin/Lucentis), and who require these drugs on a regular basis.  The aim is to reduce patients' need for such regular Lucenits eye injections. I subsequently set up and lead the MERLOT trial of epimacular brachytherapy. The MERLOT trial is similar to MERITAGE, but it is a larger trial that will be run throughout the UK. The CABERNET and MERITAGE studies are now closed to recruitment, but patients interested in joining the MERLOT study should see below or click here.

EpiRad probe
(Image, Neovista)

Implantable miniature telescopes

A study is underway at King's College Hospital using implantable miniature telescopes.  These magnify the image inside the eye and may help some patients with advanced AMD - both wet and dry types.  

Implantable telescope
(Image, VisionCare)

How to join a study

All NHS screening visits require a referral letter from a doctor. If you are currently being treated by an Ophthalmologist then please ask him or her to write a referral letter. If you are not being treated by an Ophthalmologist then please ask your GP to refer you.  Referrals should be addressed to Mr Tim Jackson, at King's College Hospital. Contact details are available here. 

Because of the media attention surrounding epimacular brachytherapy you may experience a delay in receiving an appointment.  If you have already commenced treatment with Avastin or Lucentis injections, and you are being monitored by an Ophthalmologist, then this should not pose a risk.   However, if your Ophthalmologist advises you to commence Lucentis or Avastin injections, and you would like to consider epimacular brachytherapy instead, then please ask for an urgent referral before commencing the injections. In this setting it is important to avoid delay - if you do not receive an appointment within two weeks of your doctor making the referral please contact the study coordinator on 020 3299 1297. If you develop new or worsening symptoms such as blurred or distorted vision then please visit a doctor urgently.

If you wish to be seen privately for a consultation a referral letter is helpful, but not essential. Click here for contact details. 

If you would like more information on the MERLOT study you can visit

Further information on AMD

Patient information on AMD is available here. Information for GPs and optometrists is available via the homepage (link below).

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