» First comprehensive US study reports on relationship between vision loss and depression....A comprehensive study of almost 10,500 US adults has shown an 11.3% prevalence of depression among subjects with self-reported vision loss, compared to a prevalence of 4.8% in the general population without vision loss. While an association between vision loss and depression has been previously reported, the relationship between the two has not been well studied leading to a desire to establish quality data on a national level that might subsequently facilitate more targeted medical care and referral services. The research, reported in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology (2013; 131 : 573-581) provides evidence that a loss of functional vision (meaning actual task-related visual performance) is linked to depression and that an awareness of such among treating physicians should improve the rate of appropriate referral for the treatment of depression.
Date Posted: 16/05/2013 23:33:34
» Lutein and zeaxanthin are recommended in a revised AREDS formula to reduce risk of AMD....Research, conducted by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group, has shown that an increased dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids), in addition to omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]), taken individually or in combination might further reduce the risk of progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The original "AREDS formula", launched in 2001 suggested that a supplement of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper reduced the risk of advanced AMD by 25 %, leading to the availability of many over-the-counter supplements. The original AREDS research study had recommended beta-carotene as part of a dietary regimen to reduce AMD risk however, the new studies suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin may be more effective as there appeared to be a potential link between beta carotene and lung cancer for current and former smokers.
Date Posted: 16/05/2013 23:35:36
Category: Market/Novel Tech
» Allergan Inc., announces a delay of up to 2-years for its AMD pipeline "DARPin" product....Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) showed a drop in their share value at the beginning of May following disclosure in their 1Q13 earnings of a 1-2 year delay for "AGN-150998" to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The 13% share price fall of $14.88 to $98.67 a share reflected stockholders' uncertainty regarding a potential delay in product launch and timing of subsequent revenues. The company stated that analysis of the Phase II program for the product did not "support directly moving to Phase III", and that an additional stage to an ongoing Phase II study may be required before progressing to a more expensive Phase III trial. AGN-150998 is a designed ankyrin repeat protein ("DARPin") that antagonizes VEGF-A for ophthalmic indications licensed in from the Swiss company, Molecular Partners AG.
Date Posted: 16/05/2013 23:37:14
» Gene therapy for MFRP-RP shows preliminary proof-of-concept in pre-clinical studies....Research published in the journal Human Gene Therapy has demonstrated the rescue of a rare retinal degeneration in a recessive model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The study, conducted by Dr. Astra Dinculescu and colleagues at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Florida, used a viral vector to deliver a functioning copy of the MFRP (membrane-type frizzled-related protein) gene into a murine model of MFRP-related RP. Results indicated the rescue of rod and cone photoreceptors and showed successful expression of the delivered MFRP gene in the RPE (retinal pigment epithelium). Further efficacy, safety and dose response analysis, in addition to developing a potential intravitreal route of delivery, are proposed prior to any assessment of suitability for human clinical studies.
Date Posted: 16/05/2013 23:39:45
New to EURETINA-Brief
Dr. Gearóid Tuohy
Dear EURETINA Members,
A very warm welcome to the May 16th, 2013 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 the left hand panel.
The current issue highlights a number of recent developments and research activities in our field, including publication of a comprehensive study showing an increased prevalence of depression among subjects with self-reported vision loss, compared to the general population without vision loss; new research by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) group suggesting that lutein and zeaxanthin may be more effective that the original AREDS dietary formula, and; an announcement by Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) causing a 13% drop in their share value due to a 1-2 year delay on the projected development of a pipeline product to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Finally, our feature bio-ophthalmology article reports on research published in the journal Human Gene Therapy demonstrating the rescue of a rare retinal degeneration in a recessive model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The study, conducted by Dr. Astra Dinculescu and colleagues at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Florida, used a viral vector to deliver a functioning copy of the MFRP (membrane-type frizzled-related protein) gene into a murine model of MFRP-related RP. MFRP mutations are a recent addition to a list of genetic lesions affecting the RPE leading to retinal degeneration and include the genes RPE-65, LRAT, MERTK, BEST1, TIMP3 and others. Results indicated the rescue of rod and cone photoreceptors and showed successful expression of the delivered MFRP gene in the RPE (retinal pigment epithelium). Further efficacy, safety and dose response analysis, in addition to developing a potential intravitreal route of delivery, are proposed prior to any assessment of suitability for human clinical studies.
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