• By Anni Griswold
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Ocular Pathology/Oncology, Retina/Vitreous, Uveitis

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    A gene therapy breakthrough has captured the world’s largest vision award. A 7-scientist team from the United States and Britain received the 2018 António Champalimaud Vision Award for their work in developing Luxturna, a groundbreaking treatment for inherited retinal dystrophy. At 1 million euro ($1.15 million), the award surpasses the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine—and well deserved, experts say. “This is the first, and still only example of successful gene therapy in humans that corrects an inherited genetic defect and is therefore a milestone in medical therapeutics,” said Alfred Sommer, Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and chairman of the award jury. Champalimaud Foundation

    Ophthalmologists in Brazil are keeping an eye on a rare type of syphilis that mimics ocular disorders. The infection is on the rise, they say, and can cause permanent blindness if left untreated. In decades past, ocular syphilis accounted for less than 2% of all cases of uveitis. But during a recent 2-year period, Brazilian researchers identified 127 patients with ocular syphilis, including 87 with uveitis in both eyes. Clinicians should consider the possibility of syphilis in all cases of uveitis, the authors conclude. Nature Scientific Reports

    Millions of people with glaucoma could benefit from an ocular implant developed by PolyActiva, the company said as it announced the commencement of the first phase 1 safety and tolerability trial. The implant consists of proprietary polymer prodrug technology that delivers sustained doses of latanoprost as it dissolves over 6 months, eliminating the need for patients to administer 4 daily drops. The eyelash-sized implant can be inserted in an ophthalmologists’ office under a slit lamp using a proprietary injecter. PolyActiva

    Eyegate says a phase 3 trial of EGP-437 for anterior uveitis produced “disappointing” results. The iontophoretically delivered dexamethasone formulation reduced anterior chamber cell scores but was no more effective than a control solution of prednisolone acetate. The company says they’ll shift focus to other products, including an Ocular Bandage Gel designed to treat corneal surface damage. EyeGate Pharma

    A natural plant compound may shut down a key pathway that drives uveal melanoma. Scientists say an extract from plants in the primrose family can inactivate the G alpha q pathway, preventing growth of human uveal melanoma cells. The findings, published in the journal Science Signaling, could open the door to long-awaited treatments for the disease. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis


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