• By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    A nonviral gene therapy for retinitis pigmentosa has won orphan drug designation. Eyevensys claims their drug EYS611 slows progression of retinal diseases through the protein transferrin, which regulates iron levels in the eye. Preclinical testing suggests the treatment safely preserves photoreceptors and retinal function in acute toxicity and rat models of inherited retinal degeneration. According to chief medical officer Ronald Buggage, MD, EYS611 could provide a viable option for all patients with RP—independent of underlying genetic mutation—that is less invasive and could be administered earlier than traditional viral gene therapies. Eyevensys

    Encouraging findings emerged from a pair of phase 2 trials evaluating a novel drug for Demodex blepharitis. Designed to eradicate mites by targeting their nervous system, TP-03 led to collarette cure and mite eradication in approximately three-quarters of those treated—significantly higher than what was observed in the vehicle group. There were no serious adverse events or treatment discontinuations with a twice daily regimen. The drops are currently being developed in a multi-dose, preserved formulation, with phase 3 trials slated to begin later this year. Tarsus Phamaceuticals

    “Potentially, even patients with advanced disease progression could see their fortunes turned around,” said Courtney Griffin, PhD, about new scientific findings from her lab. She and her team discovered that blocking a class of proteins (E-26 transformation-specific transcription factors) in newborn mouse eyes appears to eliminate abnormal blood vessels with slow blood flow. These preliminary findings could eventually lead to new therapies tailored to reversing vision loss common in premature infants and adults. “This is a new way of approaching these diseases. The current methods—invasive surgeries or life-long injections into the eye—only prevent the disease from advancing and often have serious complications,” explained Griffin, whose team is now working on experiments in mouse models of adult eye disease. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, PNAS

    Who would have thought a single eyelash could cause so much trouble? Definitely not this teenager (picture above). The patient initially presented with a red eye, extraocular movement restriction and a tender red nodule on the inferotemporal sclera; MRIs revealed enhanced lateral and inferior recti and adjacent fat. The culprit? An eyelash lodged in the inferotemporal retina. Removing the lash resolved intraocular and orbital inflammation and improved visual acuity from 20/50 to 20/25. Ophthalmology

     

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    Don’t miss last week’s roundup: Gene therapy, presbyopia drops, lazy eye