RP studies look at implants and transcorneal electrical stimulation


Updates on research into therapies for both early- and late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were presented at the Retinal International World Congress.

Hamburg, Germany-Updates on research into therapies for both early- and late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were presented at the Retinal International World Congress, which took place in Hamburg July 13 to 15.

Retina Implant AG presented results from the second human clinical trial of its subretinal implant. The technology has been in clinical trials since 2005 and consists of a microchip with 1,500 electrodes implanted in the macula. Results from the company's first human clinical trial in November 2010 showed that placement of the implant below the retina allowed patients to recognize foreign objects and to recognize letters to form words.

The company's second human clinical trial began in Germany in May 2010 and recently expanded into Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

“With 29 patients implanted with our subretinal microchip to-date, we have come a long way since our quest began to restore useful vision to patients blinded by RP,” said Walter G. Wrobel, president and chief executive officer of Retina Implant AG.

In addition, Okuvision GmbH presented data on the company’s proprietary transcorneal electrical stimulation (TES) treatment (OkuStim) for patients who have early- and intermediate-stage RP.

The TES device, which received CE mark approval in 2011, is designed to promote cell regeneration in photoreceptors and delay progressive sight loss in patients with RP by sending small amounts of electrical current to stimulate the retina. The results of Okuvision’s pilot study in 2011 demonstrated that patients receiving stimulation showed a statistically significant improvement in their field of vision.

Okuvision also announced that it is launching two additional, post-market research studies on the technology.

“We are pleased to participate in this year’s Retina International World Congress, providing an opportunity for more patients and physicians from around the world to learn about the benefits OkuStim therapy can provide to slow the progression of RP,” said Reinhard Rubow, chief executive officer, Okuvision GmbH. “With plans to launch two post-market studies on OkuStim therapy this year, there is great momentum surrounding the use of TES therapy for RP patients, making it a perfect time to raise awareness of OkuStim at this important venue.”

Retina Implant AG was founded in 2003 with the goal of developing a fully functioning electronic retinal implant to restore useful vision to the blind. Okuvision GmbH was founded by the leaders of Retina Implant AG in 2007 to research TES for patients with early- and intermediate-stage RP.

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