The treatment scope of Novartis' Lucentis has been expanded in Europe to include patients with visual impairment due to choroidal neovascularization (CNV) associated with causes other than neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), or secondary to pathologic myopia (PM).

CNV is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels below the retina that disrupt vision. The condition is a major cause of vision loss, causing symptoms including visual distortion, colour disturbances, partial loss of vision or a blindspot within the visual field

Lucentis (ranibizumab), a humanised therapeutic antibody fragment designed to block all biologically active forms of vascular endothelial cell growth factor-A (VEGF-A), is now the first retinal treatment approved for these conditions within the European Union, addressing an important unmet medical need, says Novartis.

Clearance was based on findings of the MINERVA study, which showed that Lucentis resulted in a significant gain of visual acuity by around 10 letters at two months, and that this effect was maintained to the end of the one-year study.

The drug is licensed for the treatment of nAMD, and for the treatment of visual impairment due to CNV, diabetic macular oedema, branch retinal vein occlusion and central retinal vein occlusion.