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Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of blinding eye diseases caused by more than 150 different gene mutations, making effective therapies difficult to develop. A new treatment created by scientists at Massachusetts Eye and Ear aims to provide broad-spectrum therapy, regardless of genetic cause, with promising early results in animals.

AGN-151587 (EDIT-101) is an experimental medicine delivered via sub-retinal injection under development for the treatment of Leber congenital amaurosis 10 (LCA10), an inherited form of blindness caused by mutations in the centrosomal protein 290 (CEP290) gene. The BRILLIANCE clinical trial is a Phase 1/2 study to evaluate AGN-151587 for the treatment of patients diagnosed with LCA10 and is the world’s first human study of an in vivo, or inside the body, CRISPR genome editing medicine. The trial will assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of AGN-151587 in approximately 18 patients with LCA10.

For the first time, scientists have used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to try to edit a gene while the DNA is still inside a person's body.

The groundbreaking procedure involved injecting the microscopic gene-editing tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, in hopes of enabling the volunteer to see. They hope to know within weeks whether the approach is working and, if so, to know within two or three months how much vision will be restored.

Data support nuclear hormone receptor gene NR2E3 as genetic modifier and therapeutic agent to treat multiple retinal degenerative diseases and potentially serve as a broad-spectrum therapy

University of Toronto researcher Vincent Tropepe is working on Usher 1F.
"Tropepe’s lab will focus on a particular protein associated with the mutated gene that is also thought to be crucial to the photoreceptors’ larger support system. If researchers can find defects in this protein and the structure it is part of, they may be able to reveal new mechanisms that maintain the stability and functionality of the photoreceptors."

"Now, the researchers are applying the new genome editing platform to develop a therapy for human patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare conditions that can cause loss of peripheral vision and difficulty seeing at night. They will target common mutations among patients that remain untreatable by conventional gene therapy. Nishiguchi's team plans to have therapy in a clinical trial by as early as 2025."

"Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) has been traditionally used in food preparation and as a medicinal plant. It currently has numerous therapeutic properties attributed to it, such as protection against ischemia, as well as anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anxiolytic, hypolipidemic, anti-atherogenic, anti-hypertensive, antidiabetic, and anti-cancer properties. In addition, saffron has remarkable beneficial properties, such as anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, due to its main metabolites, among which crocin and crocetin stand out. Furthermore, increasing evidence underwrites the possible neuroprotective role of the main bioactive saffron constituents in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, both in experimental models and in clinical studies in patients. Currently, saffron supplementation is being tested for ocular neurodegenerative pathologies, such as diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, among others, and shows beneficial effects. The present article provides a comprehensive and up to date report of the investigations on the beneficial effects of saffron extracts on the main neurodegenerative ocular pathologies and other ocular diseases. This review showed that saffron extracts could be considered promising therapeutic agents to help in the treatment of ocular neurodegenerative diseases."

Delivery of stem cell therapy via injection yielding very promising results for dry AMD, +5 lines on the eye chart. Hopefully RP is next in their game plan.

"Now, Brafman, using a new update to the CRISPR base editing technology originally developed in the lab of David Liu at Harvard, has vastly outperformed previous efforts by making highly accurate, single DNA base editing with an efficiency of up to 90% of human stem cells."

David Liu is also working directly with two of our Usher 1F researchers.

“As the regulators of these novel therapies, we know that the framework we construct for product development and review will set the stage for continued advancement of this cutting-edge field and further enable innovators to safely develop effective therapies for many diseases with unmet medical needs,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Scientific development in this area is fast-paced, complex, and poses many unique questions during a product review; including how these products work, how to administer them safely, and whether they will continue to achieve a therapeutic effect in the body without causing adverse side effects over a long period of time.”

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