Research

Research

UVA Department of Ophthalmology overview of current Research projects

Research Laboratory

The Ophthalmology Research Laboratory is run by Paul A. Yates, M.D., Ph.D and focuses on both translational and basic research into the development and regulation of retinal blood vessel growth which leads to many eye diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. We are interested in creating new approaches for treatment of these blinding diseases.

Current projects are investigating stem cell therapies for retinal disease, the role of ephrins in blood vessel growth, and creating novel light activated drugs for treatment of retinopathy of prematurity and macular degeneration. Basic research in the lab is also examining the molecules that control vascular branching, as this is a key step in the progression of abnormal blood vessel growth which causes many retinal diseases. This research involves multiple collaborations with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia which has world renowned expertise in microvascular development.

Research is also ongoing on the growth, patterning, and branching of retinal ganglion cell neurons which connect the eye to the brain. Many of the same molecules that contribute to retinal blood vessel growth also similarly control retinal neuronal growth and we hope to identify common mechanisms between the two systems. Our hope is that understanding this process will one day permit successful eye transplantation.

Research Projects

The University Of Virginia Department Of Ophthalmology is actively involved in many sponsored clinical trials to test new ophthalmic procedures and treatments. Additionally, many of the faculty members conduct their own research to investigate new treatment options for ophthalmic diseases and conditions. In recent years, the department has participated in clinical trials investigating new treatments for wet age-related macular degeneration, macula edema following central or branch retinal vein occlusions, and glaucoma trabeculectomy. In the Fall of 2007, the department redesigned the Garrette Lab to be used as a separate, more accommodating area to conduct all clinical research.  

Ongoing Clinical Trials

The Department of Ophthalmology is committed to participating in clinical research to ensure our patients have access to the newest treatment options. We are currently participating and enrolling patients in clinical trials for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and pseudotumor cerebri.

Age Related Macular Degeneration Studies

IRB-HSR # 15723: A phase 2, multi-centre, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study to investigate the safety, tolerability, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of GSK933776 in adult patients with geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

 

The purpose of this 27 month research study is to evaluate the safety of an investigational study drug, called GSK933776 in participates with geographic atrophy secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration.

You may qualify for this study if you:

  1. Are at least 55 years of age
  2. Have geographic atrophy secondary to dry AMD in the study eye
  3. Visual acuity better than 20/200 in the study eye
  4. No history of wet AMD in either eye

What is involved?

After completing a screening and observation period, eligible participants will be randomized ( like the flip of a coin) to one of three study drug groups (2 groups receive the study drug and 1 group receives the placebo). All participants will receive 18 intravenous infusions (once per month for 18 consecutive months) of their assigned study drug group.

For more information about this study please contact the Study Coordinator, Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu or visit: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT1342926?term=gsk+geographic+atrophy&rank=1

The principal investigator is Paul A. Yates, M.D., Ph.D
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IRB-HSR # 13288: A Randomized, Double Masked, Active Controlled Phase III Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Repeated Doses of Intravitreal VEGF Trap - Eye in Subjects with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The purpose of this 24 month study is to evaluate the safety, effectiveness and tolerability of an investigational medication, VEGF Trap - Eye in subjects with wet AMD.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  1. At least 50 years of age
  2. Confirmed diagnosis of wet-AMD
  3. Visual acuity between 20/40 and 20/320
  4. Received no prior treatment with anti-VEGF agents (i.e. Lucentis®, Avastin®, Macugen®)

For more information about this study please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator, Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu or visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00509795?term=regeneron+amd+view+1&rank=1.

The principal investigator is Paul A. Yates, M.D., Ph.D

Glaucoma Studies

IRB-HSR # 13527: Primary Tube Versus Trabeculectomy (PTVT) Study

The purpose of this study is to determine which of two procedures, either trabeculectomy with mitomycin C or Baerveldt implant works better with fewer complications for the treatment of your glaucoma.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Between 19 and 85 years old
  2. Have a confirmed diagnosis of Glaucoma that is not well controlled with medical therapy and an Intraocular Pressure between 18 - 40 mmHg
  3. No previous incisional ocular surgery


For more information about this study, please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator, Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu.

The principal investigator is Bruce E. Prum, Jr., M.D.

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IRB-HSR # 15259: SOLX Gold Shunt for Refractory Glaucoma

The purpose of this study is to establish the clinical performance of the investigational device, SOLX Gold Shunt for its ability to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) in eyes with refractory glaucoma where medical and conventional surgical treatments have failed.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  1. At least 21 years of age
  2. Diagnosis of primary open-angle glaucoma in the potential study eye
  3. Refractory of glaucoma in the study eye (defined as having elevated IOP while on maximally tolerated IOP-lowering medications and having undergone a prior conventional glaucoma surgical intervention)
  4. Intraocular pressure ≥ 24 mmHg


For more information about this study please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu.

The principal investigator is Peter A. Netland, M.D., Ph.D.

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IRB-HSR # 1638: AqueSys Microfistula Implant for Refractory Glaucoma

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the investigational device, the AqueSys Microfistula Implant, for its safety and ability to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) in eyes with refractory glaucoma, which have previously failed a glaucoma procedure and have high IOP on maximally tolerated IOP-lowering medications.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  1. At least 45 years of age
  2. Diagnosis of primary open-angle glaucoma in the potential study eye
  3. Refractory glaucoma in the study eye (having elavated IOP while on maximally tolerated IOP-lowering medications and having undergone a prior incisional glaucoma surgery or cilioablative procedure)
  4. Intraocular pressure ≥22 mmHg and ≤35 mmHg in the study eye

 

For more information about this study please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator, Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu.

The principal investigator is Sandra M. Johnson, M.D.

Pseudotumor Cerebri Study

The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of: (a) the investigational drug Acetazolamide + a weight loss and a dietary counseling program versus (b) Placebo + a weight loss and dietary counseling program in restoring and protecting the vision of patients with mild vision loss secondary to pseudotumor cerebri.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Age 18 – 60
  2. Diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), also known as pseudotumor cerebri, for 6 weeks or less
  3. Any previous treatment for IIH may not have been for more than 1 week
  4. Mild visual loss as determined by visual field exam
 

For more information about this study please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator, Kristina Holbrook, at (434) 243-2852 or klh7v@virginia.edu

The principal investigator is Steven A. Newman, M.D.