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Subspecialties Retina

RPE Patch: What’s New?

Back in February 2019, we wrote about the use of an RPE patch to rescue retinal degeneration in animals and asked whether the research team’s success would translate to humans – well, we may now have the answer.

Since demonstrating the patch can be transplanted in animal models, the team has completed a phase I Investigational New Drug (IND) application and received FDA clearance to start a human clinical trial. “We hope our RPE-patch will be able to slow down disease progression and, if performed at the right time, even stop late-stage disease completely,” says Kapil Bharti, Head of the NEI Unit on Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research, who led the study.

Results are expected 2-3 years from now. After this, the focus will be on making the technology accessible to those patients who could benefit. But the team also plans to develop more complex eye tissue patches – including an RPE/choroid patch and an RPE/photoreceptor patch.

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  1. R Sharma et al., Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol, 60, 553 (2020). PMID: 31914900.

About the Author

Lauren Robertson

Deputy Editor at The Ophthalmologist.

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