Over the past several years, I have written about new technologies for treating retinal diseases, including the use of drugs (Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea for wet AMD), laser treatment (Ellex’s 2RT – Retinal Regeneration, for dry AMD), and the use of stem cells and gene therapy for a wide range of ophthalmic diseases.
Earlier this year, I became aware of a new company, jCyte, who was investigating the use of retinal progenitor cells to replace damaged or destroyed photoreceptors to restore vision to those whose photorecptors had stopped working, especially in those with the latter stages of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). (Read more...)
The overall objective of the two arm randomized clinical trial was to determine if home monitoring of participants at high risk of progression from late-stage dry AMD to neovascular AMD, using the comprehensive visual field and telemedicine solution based on the ForeseeHome Device in AREDS2 (referred to as the ForeseeHome comprehensive solution), would improve detection of progression to choroidal neovascularization (CNV) when compared with standard care (may have included use of the Amsler Grid).
As I continually search the web for interesting news about new technologies for treating retinal diseases, I came across this news from the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ website yesterday afternoon. It relates to some of the annual grants to researchers that the FFB will be funding this year. It includes better ways of looking at retinal cells (via use of the adaptive optics laser scanning ophthalmoscope) and several projects involving gene therapy, along with a couple looking at ways of, hopefully, stopping the progression of dry AMD.
The following write up is reprinted with permission of the FFB.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, along with some assistance from the Flaum Eye Institute and Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester, have come up with a new version of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector that can deliver genes deep into the retina using an intravitreal injection of the vector into the vitreous, a less-invasive technique, instead of an intraretinal injection below the surface of the retina, which is the common way gene therapy is currently delivered.
The study was authored by postdoctoral fellows Deniz Dalkaral (then with Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute of UCal Berkeley (Read more...)
The story started innocently enough. On Wednesday, May 15th, the journal Cell reported on a study that claimed biologists had finally created human stem cells by the same technique that produced Dolly the cloned sheep in 1996. They transplanted genetic material from an adult cell into an egg whose own DNA had been removed.
OK, an important story but what followed boggles the mind. Many science reporters wrote about the discovery which got picked up by several news sources. However, a sharp-eyed member of the Investor Stemcell Forum (iCell)
, a group originally started by investors in Advanced Cell Technology (Read more...)
About a year ago, a colleague put me in touch with a Boston-based venture capitalist who was interested in a new method for restoring vision to the blind that was under development at Cornell University. I did some cursory research about the technology and wrote a brief report about what I learned.
I really didn’t understand the front end of the technology – how the research team was able to acquire and manage a useful visual signal that could be converted into sight by the brain, but since the back end involved the use of gene therapy, which I was (Read more...)
In the past couple of months, I was asked to update an article I wrote on stem cells in ophthalmology, originally published in Retina Today, for its sister publication, Advanced Ocular Care, and to write a similar article about the current status of gene therapy for another ophthalmic publication, Retinal Physician. These two articles have now been published in the respective journals and made available online.
Here is a brief summary of each article, along with the link to its online version and a note about finding the current versions of the tables associated with each, online.
A short while ago, I was asked by Maureen Duffy, editor of VisionAware, the blog of the American Foundation for the Blind, how I became so knowledgeable about ophthalmology and why I started my blog. I prepared some background information for Maureen and she published it as a guest blog on her site, but because of space limitations, she was only able to use an abridged version. Since I don’t have the same space limitations, I decided to publish the “unabridged” version here.
So, here is my story:
The Beginning of My Career in Chemistry
I am now happy to report that Hemera has obtained initial funding, along with the issuance of a US Patent and can now begin manufacturing its drug, soluble CD59 (protectin), perform animal toxicology and initiate a phase 1 clinical study.
I finally figured out how to put my current gene therapy tables online for anyone interested to access. So, here is a brief description of what is available and how to access them:Gene TherapyGene Therapy Companies/Institutions Active in OphthalmologyT…
Read more →