The research department at Retina Associates of Western New York (RAWNY) has continued to be very active in clinical trials that are aimed at finding improved treatments for the most common retinal conditions.

Recently, the department has made a pivot towards participating in trials that utilize gene therapy. We currently are recruiting for several clinical trials that are using gene therapy technology to slow the progression of nonexudative (dry) age related macular degeneration (AMD). The complement system is believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of dry AMD through the creation of damaging inflammation. Several gene therapy treatments specifically aim to influence the complement cascade and consequently, reduce inflammation. In one clinical trial, the gene therapy therapeutic is administered through an intravitreal injection. In a different clinical trial, the gene therapy drug is administered sub-retinally, after a vitrectomy in the operating room.

Dry AMD, however, is not the only condition where gene therapy techniques are under investigation as potential treatments. We are currently enrolling patients in a new clinical trial that uses gene therapy to treat wet AMD. In this trial, the host retina and retinal epithelial cells are transfected with a viral vector that delivers a gene sequence that codes for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) medication. In essence, the host (human retina) is then able to create the anti-VEGF medication itself, without the need for repeated injections.

Lastly, we are currently enrolling a clinical trial, sponsored by the Diabetic Retinopathy and Clinical Research (DRCR) Retina Network, which utilizes fenofibrate as an oral therapy to slow the progression and development of diabetic retinopathy.

The RAWNY physicians and research department continue to work hard to find safe opportunities for our patients to have access to the most innovative retina treatments available.

Matthew Witmer, MD


If you are a patient interested in a clinical trial, fill out the form at and a clinical trial coordinator will reach out to you to determine if you are eligible. 

If you are a referring provider interested in learning more about the clinical trials we offer, you can reach out to our Clinical Trials department directly at 585-442-3411 extension 124.

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