by Dr. Gearóid Tuohy
Dear EURETINA Members,
A very warm welcome to the November 16th, 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 published results from a systematic review of interventions for diabetic retinopathy (DR) indicating that intensive insulin pump therapy, compared to multiple daily injections, is more effective in preventing the occurrence and progression of DR; an announcement from the Foundation Fighting Blindness on its largest co-funding award to date, committing $7.5 million to the clinical development of a small molecule drug candidate (“VM200”), designed to neutralize the toxic build-up of vitamin A aldehyde, characteristic of early onset macular degeneration, and; the release of further clinical trial data from Spark Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ONCE), a gene therapy company based in Philadelphia, USA. Additional secondary endpoint data released at this year’s AAO meeting in Las Vegas show a significant improvement in visual acuity measurements between treated and control groups in the first randomised gene therapy clinical study in the US for the treatment of RPE65-mediated inherited retinal dystrophies.
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