Weekly vaccination with copaxone (glatiramer acetate) as a potential therapy for dry age-related macular degeneration

Gennady Landa, Oleg Butovsky, Johai Shoshani, Michal Schwartz, Ayala Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose: Drusen formation in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) shares some similarities with Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is associated with amyloid deposits. Aggregated beta-amyloid induces microglia to become cytotoxic and block neurogenesis. Recent evidence showed that T cell-based vaccination with Copaxone in AD mice model resulted in modulation of microglia into neuroprotective phenotype and as a result in reduction of cognitive decline, elimination of plaque formation, and induction of neuronal survival and neurogenesis. The aim was to investigate whether the effect of Copaxone on drusen in dry AMD is similar to that on deposits of other age-related chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD). Materials and Methods: Patients over 50 years of age with intermediate dry AMD in both eyes were randomized to receive Copaxone or sham injections and were weekly treated by subcutaneous injections of Copaxone (dose of 20 mg) or sham injections for 12 weeks. At baseline, 6-week, and 12-week visits, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, fundus examination and photography, fluorescein angiography, and ocular coherent tomography were performed. Main outcome measure was a change in total drusen area (TDA) measured by Image-Pro software and presented in arbitrary units (AU). Results: Eight studied eyes of four treated patients showed a decrease in TDA from 48130 to 16205 AU at 12 weeks as compared to baseline. In contrast, four control eyes (two patients) demonstrated almost no change in TDA (from 32294 to 32781 AU). Conclusion: These preliminary results show that Copaxone reduces drusen area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1013
Number of pages3
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Copaxone
  • Drusen
  • Microglia


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