Cool Things

Greeting! I decided to stay home today. Too much to do. So instead of doing housework or work work I am working on a page.😝 Hey, makes sense to me!

I was doing a little web browsing and came upon the site for the “American Association of Ophthalmology. Protecting Sight. Empowering Lives”. Nice motto. Established 1896. Fairly old for ‘the colonies’.

I was looking through the sight site 😋 and discovered the pages from the annual meeting in New Orleans. There, in living color, was my doc! Carl Regillo was program co-director for the retina section. How about that?

Ever play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? It is a silly game based on the theory of six degrees of separation. The theory is anyone can get to anyone else in six moves or less through associations. I used to be able to get to the president in four moves. I was friends with the father of the secretary of the state department of agriculture. He knew the federal secretary of agriculture. The federal head knew the president. The president was my fourth jump. Done in four moves!

Anyway, started to think how many moves it would take to certain people through Regillo. He cuts it down considerably! But that is not my point…

My point is: they are doing some cool things in ophthalmology!

For example? Well, do you remember I said it would not be long before they are using gene therapy with AMD? Boy, was I behind the curve! Things in that field are happening now!

The AAO stuff was in abstract form and pretty scientific. Allow me to go to the popular press and get my info? If I sit down and try to analyze the other stuff, that is all I will get done today!

BrightFocus and WebRN both ran pages on gene therapy for macular degeneration. The BrightFocus article highlighted a gene therapy called Retinostat. Retinostat is for wet AMD. It sounds as if the inserted gene programs the cells in the eye to produce anti-VEGF. Sort of like refitting a factory to produce a different product.

Retinostat is nct01678872 at clinicaltrials.gov. What is listed is a phase 1 study (safety and tolerability) and they are recruiting by invitation only.

The second wet AMD gene therapy possibility mentioned in BrightFocus is AAV-sFLT. This is also supposed to block VEGF. This study is nct01024998. It is active but not recruiting. That is also phase 1. At the end of the first year, gene alterations from AAV-sFLT were still blocking the production of VEGF. Bottom line may be fewer or even no shots!

And, as for usual, wet AMD advances seem to happen first and our third potential gene therapy is also for ‘youse guys’. Specifically it is REGENXBIO’s RGX-314. The number is nct03066258. It is phase 1 – once again – safety and tolerability and absolutely no promises. They are recruiting. Santa Barbara, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Memphis and Houston.

So, yes. There is progress there in gene therapy for wet AMD, too. Gene therapy is in its infancy and some people object. It is up to you to decide for yourself if you believe manipulating the very code that makes up who we are is moral or are we playing God. Not my call. If you are alright with it, they could have it for you in a few years. Good luck!

Written January 28th, 2018


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Cool Things
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