Immunotherapy medicine proves effective against ocular inflammation

By 19 octubre, 2018Biomedicine and Health

A team of researchers from the UCH CEU’s Biomedical Sciences Institute has tested the efficiency of Bevacizumab, medicine used against cancer and in ophtalmology, to treat uveítis, thus stopping the inflammation from spreading.

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvula – the ocular tissue located between the sclera and the retina -, due to infections or autoimmune diseases. The uvula provides a majority of the blood supply to the retina, so early treatment of its inflammation could be key to prevent consequences in other ocular tissues, because, if it is not treated on time, the inflammation can spread to the vitreous and the retina. Researchers of the Biomedicine Sciences Institute of the Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU university (UCH CEU) in Valencia have tested for the first time on an experimental model the efficiency of Bevacizumab in treating uveitis. The results, which provide a new strategy for treating uveitis and preventing its effects, have been published in the international scientific journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

According to professor Francisco Bosch, head of the UCH CEU’s Biomedical Sciences Institute, “Bevacizumab is a medicine used in combined immunotherapy for treating tumours, which also has several ophthalmologic uses for treating ocular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular oedema or glaucoma.” The research team of the UCH CEU, headed by doctor Bosch, has studied the medicine’s anti-inflammatory capacity for the first time, compared to its potential risks regarding toxicity, in induced uveitis on an experimental model.

Anti-inflammatory effect

As professor Bosch highlights, “the cellular and histopathological count results obtained by our team proves the capabilities of the medicine to prevent inflammation, not only of the uvula, but also the retina and the vitreous chamber. And it also makes it possible to rule out the risk of retinal degradation that could be associated to the use of the medicine.”

These results also provide relevant data regarding the controversy surrounding the use of injectable medicines with vascular endothelium anti-growth factor, the anti-VEGF. “Even though bevacizumab, commercialised as Avastin, was initially developed to treat several types of cancer, it is commonly used in ophthalmology despite this use not being recommended. Our results verify that in this field it is as effective and safe as other anti-VEGF medicines such as Lucentis, which was designed specifically for ophthalmologic purposes, but is more expensive,” stresses doctor Bosch.

Research team

The research, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, has been developed by the team comprised of Francisco Bosch, head of the Biomedicine Sciences Institute of the UCH CEU, and teachers and researchers Salvador Mérida, Inmaculada Almansa, Vicente Villar and Amparo Navea, from the same institute. These UCH CEU teachers have worked together with Carmen Desco and Cristina Peris, from the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Valencia region (FISABIO); María Sancho-Tello, from Valencia University (UV); and Mari Luz Moreno, from the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV).