A drug that could help people suffering from a type of irreversible vision loss is being trialled for the first time in Scotland.
Lampalizumab could be the first treatment for sufferers of geographic atrophy, an advanced form of the eye condition age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which results in a progressive loss of vision.
Patients are now starting to receive the drug - which is not yet licensed - as phase three clinical trials get under way at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh and Ayr Hospital in South Ayrshire.
Professor Baljean Dhillon, consultant ophthalmic surgeon with NHS Lothian, is one of 300 doctors across 24 different countries taking part in the study.
He described the research as an “exciting step forward” for people living with the “devastating condition”.
Prof Dhillon said: “Geographic atrophy, a form of age-related macular degeneration, is a leading cause of significant vision loss and registerable blindness, affecting an increasing number of older individuals for whom there is no treatment at present.
“This trial offers potential hope for a new treatment that may slow disease progression and visual decline.
“I am delighted that patients in Edinburgh are among the first in Scotland to be able to trial this new medicine and adds to the cutting-edge research into macular degeneration being carried out at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion by NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh.”
Claire Jarvis, from drug manufacturers Roche UK, said: “Geographic atrophy is one of the last remaining unconquered diseases in ophthalmology and our years of research and development in retinal eye diseases have provided us with the insights needed to trial a potential medicine that could slow its progression.
“We are pleased that this trial programme is taking place in Scotland and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of the trial in due course.”
People in the Edinburgh area who are interested in taking part in the trial can call the research office on 0131 536 4120 and leave a message while people in the Ayr area are asked to contact their local optometrist.