In addition to the several updates posted on this blog in 2015 (see previous posting), I have prepared four articles that have appeared in ophthalmic journals this year.
Here is a brief summary of the four articles, including links to the online versions:
This article, published in the February 2015 issue of The Ophthalmologist, describes the use of stem cell-derived retinal progenitor cells (RPCs), that are being investigated for reviving/repairing/rejuvenating damaged photoreceptors to bring back sight to those who have lost it due to a retinal degenerative disease, including choroideremeia (CHM), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Leber’s congenital amaurosis (LCA) and Stargardt’s disease (Stargardt Macular Dystrophy - SMD). It discusses the four companies that are conducting clinical research, as well as the work underway at several university and institutional laboratories.
Update: Since the article appeared, two of the companies discussed, jCyte and ReNeuron have either begun a clinical trial (jCyte), or announced the start of one (ReNeuron).
With the likelihood of a gene therapy and/or a stem cell treatment for retinal diseases to be approved for marketing within the next two to three years, it is time for the ophthalmic community – the suppliers, practitioners, patients and payers – to start thinking about how much these regenerative medicine treatments are likely to cost, and how patients and the healthcare system will pay for them..
In The Economics of Gene Therapy
, appearing in the May 2015 issue of The Ophthalmologist
, I propose a pricing model for Regenerative Medicine in Ophthalmology, based on the population of patients to be treated, and suggest that an annuity program model, based on performance and duration of efficacy, could be used to pay for it.
Let the dialogue begin.
An update of the latest clinical information in the use of gene therapy in treating several retinal diseases, including Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA); the wet form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wet-AMD); Choroideremia (CHM); Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (SMD); Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP); and Ushers Syndrome (US). Included is the proposed model of pricing for some gene therapy treatments, based on the population of patients likely to be treated.
Optogenetics is the introduction of protein-based, light-activated chemicals into still functional retinal cells in the vision chain, that upon activation, send electrical signals along the optic nerve to the brain, providing rudimentary vision, that was lost with the death or damage of the photoreceptors.
This report, The Optogenetics Option
, describes the efforts of four companies and ten universities, using either gene therapy, or other means, to deliver light-activatable proteins or chemicals (photoswitches) to still functioning cells within the retina (ganglion and/or bipolar cells) or, in some cases, the use of light activatable implants, that will deliver light signals to the brain to provide some rudimentary vision when the photoreceptors, that normally provide that function, cannot.