Targeting angiogenesis, the underlying disorder in neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Can J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jun;40(3):352-68. doi: 10.1016/S0008-4182(05)80078-X.


Angiogenesis has a causal role in many diseases, including neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Identification of key regulators of angiogenesis, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor 2, pigment epithelium-derived growth factor, angiopoietins and extracellular matrix molecules, has facilitated the development of novel therapeutic agents that target the underlying pathological angiogenic process. Among these, VEGF serves as a "master switch" for many ocular neovascular conditions through its promotion of endothelial cell proliferation and survival, vascular permeability and ocular inflammation. Two anti-VEGF agents are now clinically available: bevacizumab, an antibody for metastatic colorectal cancer, and pegaptanib sodium, an aptamer for neovascular AMD. Unlike bevacizumab, which binds all VEGF isoforms, pegaptanib targets only VEGF165, the isoform responsible for pathological ocular neovascularization and thus an ideal target for treatment of AMD. Although other therapies targeting angiogenesis in AMD are in clinical development, to date, pegaptanib is the only therapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States for the treatment of all neovascular AMD and represents a valuable addition to the hitherto limited options available for patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / therapeutic use
  • Bevacizumab
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / etiology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • pegaptanib
  • Bevacizumab