Retina Care Highlights January 2023
Keep up with the latest retinal care and clinical research highlights from Austin Retina Associates.
Case Report: Inherited Retinal DystrophyThis is a patient with an inherited retinal dystrophy (IRD) due to a genetic mutation. The retinal dystrophies are a group of rare diseases that cause breakdown or degeneration of retinal tissue due to a change or mutation in a gene. There are more than 260 genes that can cause retinal dystrophies, and genetic testing (that can be performed in a clinic) is an important part of diagnosis and understanding the future prognosis. While the current treatment options for inherited retinal dystrophies are limited, there are many new therapies under investigation including gene augmentation and gene editing, optogenetics (allowing the remaining healthy retina to be activated by light), stem cell therapies, retinal prosthetic devices, and neuroprotective medicines. ## ARA’s Monthly Clinical Retina Research Update Every month we’ll be highlighting one of our clinical trials bringing new therapeutic options to patients. This month we’ll discuss a new therapeutic option for neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration.
New Treatment for Wet AMD
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States, affecting approximately 11 million people in the US. Occasionally, new blood vessels from a tissue layer underneath the retina called the choroid may leak or bleed in a process known as “wet” AMD. The new blood vessels are called “choroidal neovascularization” (CNV) and are the hallmark of wet AMD. Over time, CNV may result in scar tissue or cellular loss (atrophy), which are less reversible. While wet AMD only represents 10% of all AMD cases, it is responsible for the majority of severe vision loss. In order to preserve the best possible vision, wet AMD usually requires regular intravitreal injections of pharmacologic agents every 4-12 weeks.
Austin Retina is participating in two clinical trials that could change this treatment approach for wet AMD. The trials explore a new technology called gene therapy where during a surgery the retina is given the instructions to make the same type of medicine patients receive in the clinic. This way, the body can make the drug in the retina right where it is needed on an ongoing basis with the goal of fewer injections in the clinic. Patients that enroll in the trial are randomized to receive either the new gene therapy approach or the current standard of care with intravitreal injections of ranibizumab (Lucentis) within the ATMOSPHERE trial at our Austin Main location or aflibercept (Eylea) within the ASCENT trial at our Round Rock location. If you’d be interested in learning more about these or other clinical trials at both our Main and Round Rock locations, please let your Austin Retina physician or staff member know.