Celtrix Laboratories Inc. has begun a Phase II trial of itswound-healing growth factor as an aid in repairing a form ofdetached retinas, the Palo Alto, Calif., company announcedThursday.

The multicenter clinical study is an extension of aninvestigator-sponsored investigational new drug study thatused different doses of transforming growth factor (TGF) beta.The agent was placed on the detached, macular portion of theretina during an eye operation that is used to treat thecondition known as "macular holes."

Macular detachment affects the central area of the retina,which is responsible for detailed visual discrimination, andcan leave patients legally blind. Some 5,000 to 10,000 casesoccur annually in the United States.

Sandra McNamara, Celtrix's chief financial officer, saidresults of the preliminary trial in about 60 patients are"encouraging," but declined to give details. The Phase II trial ofsafety and effectiveness will study 90 patients at twomedical centers.

Celtrix has a patent on the Type II TGF beta used in the studiesand is investigating use of TGF beta for healing detachedretinas, skin ulcers and osteoporosis. -- Roberta Friedman,Ph.D.

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