» First systematic review suggests inconclusive results on the effects of zinc for prevention and treatment of AMD....New research from Tufts University, Boston, has indicated 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. The analysis, published in the journal, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Vishwanathan et al, June 2013, Vol. 54, No. 6, pp 3985-3998) showed that while the results on zinc intake for the prevention of AMD did not paint a clear picture, comprehensive data from AREDS (a large scale US-based multi-centre clinical Age-related Eye Disease Study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute) suggested 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".
Date Posted: 17/06/2013 18:59:19
» UK-based Oxford Biomedica, plc, suspends patient enrolment in 3 ophthalmic clinical trials due to detection of impurities in raw material ....In an early June press release Oxford Biomedica, plc (LSE: OXB), announced the company's voluntarily suspension of patient recruitment for their RetinoStat Phase I, StarGen Phase I/IIa and UshStat Phase I/IIa clinical trials. The company stated that the action was a precautionary measure, while investigations were underway following the detection of potential impurities derived from what was referred to as a "widely-used third party raw material". The company made no comment on the specifics of the impurity or on their suspected source but did state that, "there were no safety concerns identified in preclinical or clinical testing of the products and there is no reason to believe that the safety profile of the products will be affected".
Date Posted: 17/06/2013 19:00:22
Category: Market/Novel Tech
» Ophthotech Corporation receives $175M to progress a Phase III clinical trial for Fovista ....Ophthotech Corporation (Princeton, New Jersey) has announced the execution of an agreement with Novo A/S valued at $175M. The deal is set to fund the development of a new wet AMD treatment termed "Fovista", a novel drug comprised of a pegylated aptamer oligonucleotide designed to target platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGFB). The proposed Phase III trial is understood to be a large multi-national study scheduled to begin in Q3-FY2013 and aims to recruit almost 2,000 patients in 200 global centres. The $175M financing for the clinical development is composed of $125M in exchange for an undisclosed royalty percentage on Fovista sales, together with a $50M Series C preferred equity divided across three milestone driven tranches.
Date Posted: 17/06/2013 19:01:37
» 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: 17/06/2013 19:02:55
New to EURETINA-Brief
Dr. Gearóid Tuohy
Dear EURETINA Members,
A very warm welcome to the June 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 research activities, clinical announcements and business development in our field, including new research from Tufts University, Boston, indicating that evidence remains inconclusive in regards to the benefits, or otherwise, of zinc intake in the primary prevention and treatment of AMD; an announcement from Oxford Biomedica, plc (LSE: OXB), that it has voluntarily suspended patient recruitment in three of its ophthalmic clinical trials as a precautionary measure following the detection of potential impurities in materials, and; an announcement from Ophthotech Corporation on the execution of a $175M deal with Novo A/S to fund the Phase III development of a new aptamer based drug for the treatment of wet AMD, scheduled to begin recruitment in Q32013.
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