LONDON ¿ Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc (CAT), of Royston, Cambridgeshire, has released animal data that it said demonstrates the potential of its human monoclonal antibodies in eye surgery and treating eye injuries.

In a rabbit model of glaucoma filtration surgery, injecting CAT152 (anti-TGF beta2) significantly improved the outcome, inhibiting conjunctival scarring. In a second study, topically applied CAT192 (anti-TGF beta1) improved the rate of wound healing in bovine corneas. Excessive activity of TGF beta cytokines is associated with organ fibrosis and post surgical scarring.

CAT has developed CAT152 in house and shown it is specific in neutralizing TGF beta2, the isoform believed to be responsible for scarring in and around the eye. A trial in 24 patients undergoing glaucoma filtration surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London has just completed the treatment phase, and CAT expects to initiate a larger study in this indication later in 1999.

Excessive TGF beta1 is associated with fibrosis or scarring in the skin and most internal organs and tissues, and may also delay healing of epithelial surfaces such as the skin or the eyes. CAT192, currently in preclinical development, could therefore be used in a number of indications, including kidney and liver fibrosis and keloid scars. ¿ Nuala Moran