Flavoprotein Fluorescence Correlation with Visual Acuity Response in Patients Receiving Anti-VEGF Injection for Diabetic Macular Edema study has been published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.  The news was announced today by OcuSciences, Inc.

The findings suggest that FPF can detect improvement in metabolic function that more directly correlates to vision improvement than the improvement in macular thickness measured by optical coherence tomography in DME patients treated with anti-VEGF. OcuSciences is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing retinal imagers to detect early disease by assessing retinal metabolic activity.

The study, led by Dr. Richard Rosen, MD, professor of ophthalmology at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, followed eight patients with clinically significant DME (CSDME) before and after treatment with anti-VEGF injections. Dr. Rosen and lead author Dr. Jorge Andrade Romo, MD, found that the change in flavoprotein fluorescence (FPF) before and after injection, measured by OcuSciences’ flagship device, the OcuMet Beacon, more closely correlated with the change in best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) than that of the change in central macular thickness (OCT CMT) and BCVA. This suggests that FPF can detect metabolic improvements that precede structural improvements in DME patients benefitting from anti-VEGF injections.

“This was a very important study for OcuSciences and our metabolic imager. The OcuMet Beacon, which rapidly and quantitatively measures FPF, could be a more sensitive measure of retinal health and improvement in vision than other measures for DME patients such as the gold standard, OCT,” said Kurt Riegger, President and COO of OcuSciences. “This study suggests ophthalmologists and optometrists can begin to look for the earliest signs of retinal damage and improvement with therapy for their patients. If we can detect disease earlier, treat patients earlier, know whether or not a therapy is working earlier, we can improve patient outcomes.”

The imaging modality for the OcuMet Beacon is based on research that was conducted at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center by Victor Elner, MD, PhD, an ophthalmologist and pathologist, and Howard Petty, PhD, a biophysicist and immunologist. The OcuMet Beacon uses a very specific wavelength of light that excites flavoproteins in the mitochondria that are not “working” efficiently. The dysfunctional flavoproteins emit a light that the device then captures and quantifies. Mitochondria, the powerhouse of all cells, are critical in the production of ATP for energy and in the signaling process for cell death. Therefore, measuring mitochondrial functional health is an important indicator of cellular damage and the precursor to cell death.

Since the OcuMet Beacon provides the operator with a quantitative FPF readout, physicians can, by taking multiple images over time, investigate the retinal metabolic change and thereby study the change due to disease and therapy. “An indication that a drug or intervention is working, or improving overall tissue metabolism, before structural changes become apparent, would be fantastic. I think this truly could be the next big leap in diagnosing, monitoring and treating retinal disease,” said Rosen.

Drs. Rosen and Andrade Romo have no financial interest in the company. Author Dr. Victor Elner has a leadership position (Chief Scientific Officer) and financial interest in OcuSciences, Inc.