Gene Therapy for Retinitis Pigmentosa
Using gene therapy, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida were able to preserve sight in dogs with naturally occurring, late-stage retinitis pigmentosa. Overall, they found gene therapy halted disease-associated cell death for at least the length of the 2.5-year study. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Lifitegrast FDA Approval Delayed
Shire has recently completed a Phase III study of lifitegrast, OPUS-3, that showed it significantly improved patient-reported symptoms of dry eye disease from baseline to day 84, as well as symptom improvement from baseline to days 14 and 42. Shire plans to use these data as part of the resubmission of the New Drug Application (NDA) for lifitegrast in the first quarter of 2016. OPUS-3 is a randomized, double-masked, 12-week Phase III study that enrolled 711 patients to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lifitegrast. Shire continues to plan for a 2016 launch.
Dry Eye and Systemic Pain
A new study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found that patients who reported partial or no improvement in their dry eye symptoms also reported higher levels of systemic and neuropathic ocular pain. “This study may heighten provider awareness that nervous system sensitization may be contributing to symptoms in patients who do not respond to artificial tears,” says Joanne Shen, MD, ophthalmology chair and director of the Dry Eye Clinic at the Mayo Clinic.