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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2006 Feb;5(2):123-32.

Pegaptanib, a targeted anti-VEGF aptamer for ocular vascular disease.

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  • 1Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 3 Times Square, 12th Floor, New York, New York 10036, USA.


Aptamers are oligonucleotide ligands that are selected for high-affinity binding to molecular targets. Pegaptanib sodium (Macugen; Eyetech Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer) is an RNA aptamer directed against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-165, the VEGF isoform primarily responsible for pathological ocular neovascularization and vascular permeability. After nearly a decade of preclinical development to optimize and characterize its biological effects, pegaptanib was shown in clinical trials to be effective in treating choroidal neovascularization associated with age-related macular degeneration. Pegaptanib therefore has the notable distinction of being the first aptamer therapeutic approved for use in humans, paving the way for future aptamer applications.

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