by Dr. Gearóid Tuohy
Dear EURETINA Members,
A very warm welcome to the July 4th, 2018 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 clinicians, 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 / regulatory milestones and market / business developments in our field, including the publication of research results from a Japanese team of investigators demonstrating the differentiation of dermal fibroblasts into light sensitive photoreceptors using three key transcription factors; clinical research uncovering an association suggesting that a thinning of the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) may represent a clinically useful marker for identifying a greater risk of future cognitive decline, and; from our business section, an announcement from Novartis of the spin out of Alcon, a move understood to facilitate a consolidation of effort and investment on pharmaceutical product development.
Finally, our feature bio-ophthalmology article reports on the need for expert research scientists to support the evaluation of new drug approvals for novel technologies, including retinal stem cell and gene therapies. The pace of new technology and novel medical treatments has reached a point at which regulators and assessors require additional expert evaluation in reviewing and assessing marketing authorizations. Specialist researchers in fields such as genetics, stem cell biology, gene editing and others, are required to assist regulators assess and evaluate new therapies that rapidly progress from academic research to clinical application. Recent examples include Spark Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ:ONCE), announcement on the submission of a marketing application to the European Medicines Agency for Investigational “LUXTURNA” (voretigene neparvovec). The application arises from several years research involving academic, regulatory and industry experts to devise a therapy to treat RPE-65 related retinopathies.
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, including our LinkedIn page, 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