What’s on the horizon to treat inherited retinal diseases?

16 July 15

written by:

Ade Deane-Pratt

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A review of new and emerging technologies highlights some really important concerns that come directly from patients.

A review of new and emerging technologies for treating inherited retinal conditions has been published in the prestigious open access journal Eye, part of the Nature group of publications.

The review was carried out by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Horizon Scanning Centre (HSC) working with Fight for Sight, and followed on from the Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) with the James Lind Alliance. This was a major consultation of people affected by sight loss, including patients, family-members, carers and eye health professionals to find out what they feel are the most important priorities for medical research.

40 potential treatments

Number one on the list for people affected by inherited eye disorders was the question “can a treatment to slow down progression or reverse sight loss in inherited retinal diseases be developed?” The review addresses this priority by providing a clear and comprehensive guide to 40 treatments on the horizon and will help to inform patients, research, policy and healthcare.

Treatments included drugs, gene- and stem cell therapies as well as new medical technologies based on retinal implants that are already being tested in clinical trials.

Dr Dolores M Conroy, Director of Research at Fight for Sight, said:

“The review highlights some really important concerns that come directly from patients themselves. Questions such as whether everyone will have access to breakthrough treatments and technologies when they emerge.

Access for all

“We must be sure to include people who have already been discharged from NHS care because their condition is currently incurable as well as people from different cultures and ethnicities, older adults and people on low incomes.

“It’s also vital that we are realistic about reporting research that’s in the early stages. We must be careful not to give false hope about treatments that might be a decade away. There is much to be genuinely excited about, such as gene therapy for choroideremia for example, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

You can read the review on the Eye website.

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