by Dr. Gearóid Tuohy
Dear EURETINA Members,
A very warm welcome to the October 17th, 2015 edition of EURETINA’s web-based digital magazine, “EURETINA Brief”. EURETINA are delighted to continue our delivery of up to date summary briefs on a range of topics of interest to retinal specialists and researchers across Europe. This resource is designed to accommodate the very busy schedules of all our members by providing them with a short overview of some new developments and announcements in our field over recent weeks.
As in previous issues we have incorporated a feedback section where you can comment on any of the news items or articles under discussion and we very much welcome all contributions. Previous articles and issues can be found in the archive section on this website.
The current issue highlights a number of research activities, clinical milestones and business developments in our field, including research on second generation anti-sense molecules targeting mutated alleles in a dominant model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP); an announcement from Spark Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ONCE), on pivotal phase III trial results of “SPK-RPE65”, a replacement gene therapy treatment for RPE65-mediated inherited retinal degeneration, and; the enrollment of a first patient in a phase II clinical trial of human embryonic derived stem cells for the treatment of atrophic age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD). The results of the first cohort are expected to be released by Ocata Therapeutics, Inc., within the second quarter of FY2016.
Finally, our feature bio-ophthalmology article reports on a US-based systematic review from Tufts University, Boston, indicating that evidence remains inconclusive in regards to whether or not zinc intake from foods and supplements is beneficial in the primary prevention and treatment of AMD. Analysis of several independent studies show that while the results on zinc intake for the prevention of AMD appear inconclusive, comprehensive data from AREDS (a large scale US-based multi-centre clinical Age-related Eye Disease Study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute) suggest that zinc treatment may be effective in preventing the progression of the disease to advanced AMD. The authors conclude in their publication that, “zinc supplementation alone may not be sufficient to produce clinically meaningful changes in visual acuity.”
As always, increased interaction by you with the EURETINA web community serves to expand your professional network and keep you up to date with the latest initiatives, activities and research in your field. Our hope is that such cross-fertilisation in an active web-based platform will lead to increased collaborative opportunities and ultimately to improved patient care. All readers are invited to submit comments or responses to any of the stories featured and we look forward to hearing from you over the coming month.
Dr. Gearóid Tuohy, EURETINA