FDA offers single medical device for treating two types of eye disease

Now there is a good news for the patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa as last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tracked a novel treatment "a capsule" which helps in protecting vision during these two diseases.

Normally, cells in the back of the retina, translate light into electrical signals, which are relayed to the brain. In both retinitis pigmentosa and the most common form of age-related macular degeneration, dry AMD, light-sensitive cells in the retina degenerate over time. This results in loss of vision.

The capsule suggested by FDA is a Lincoln, RI, biotech company Neurotech's product. This product is a special type of capsule consisting of genetically engineered cells that produce a protein which helps in preventing light-sensitive cells in the retina from dying, ultimately protecting vision.

It is implanted in the vitreous humor portion of the eye, a transparent gel type part that lies between the lens in front and the retina in back. The capsule is made of a semipermeable plastic, which allows the protein produced by the genetically engineered cells to diffuse into the retina. Then the protein produces ciliary neurotrophic factor, or CNTF which slows degeneration of the retinal cells in disease analogous to retinitis pigmentosa.

Weng Tao, chief scientific officer of Neurotech says that, till now these tests (promoting retinal regeneration) has achieved success in animal trial and the approach has also proved to be safe for the patients (in phase 1 trial with 10 patients) with degenerative diseases of the retina which was done in 2006. Now what we are working on is the real challenge to translate these positive observations in humans (Phase II) which will be conducted in the early 2009.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/


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