Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker

First AMD Patient Receives Argus II Bionic Retina

Ray Flynn wearing the Argus IIThere’s nothing more exciting than news about vision restoration for someone blind from a retinal disease. But a report coming from across the pond is especially compelling, because it’s about the first person with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to receive the Argus II bionic retina.

While more than 100 people with retinitis pigmentosa and related conditions are using the device, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more than two years ago, expansion to the AMD population is huge. That’s because more than 30 million people have AMD, and there’s only a treatment for the wet form, which affects just 10 percent with the condition. So, there’s a major unmet need, especially for those with advanced dry AMD, which robs people of central vision.

A pioneering, 80-year-old named Ray Flynn is the first AMD patient to receive the Argus II, and he is already reporting that he can see things better in his garden. Keep in mind that the device restores rudimentary vision—the ability to recognize shapes, outlines of people and movement—and Ray is still learning how to use it. However, for someone who is blind, even a little vision restoration greatly impacts quality of life.

The short video below tells a nice story about Ray’s implantation with the Argus II and how this bionic retina works. It also offers perspective from the surgeon, Dr. Paul Stanga, at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

Pictured, top: Argus II user Ray Flynn, who has age-related macular degeneration. Photo courtesy of Second Sight.


20 Responses to 'First AMD Patient Receives Argus II Bionic Retina'

  1. Naglaa says:

    hello doctors,

    My name is Naglaa Adel and i am currently based in Krakow, and i want your advice and experience in my father’s case.
    My father is 75 years old , he had Glaucoma more than 30 years ago which caused him blindness due to optic nerve atrophy
    after many trials of treatments in Barcelona and Frankfurt in 80’s.

    I heard about some researches related to my father’s case which discovered a new treatment called Stem Cell and i want to know if there is a chance to do this surgery in one eye (as he lost one of them in an accident 7 years ago).

    We are waiting for your feedback,
    This is my contact number : +48884931853

    Thank you

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      Stem cell therapy is currently being evaluated for possible use in optic nerve damage caused by diseases such as glaucoma. The research is slowly moving towards the clinic but will probably not be ready for clinical trials for a few more years. Dr. Dong Chen at Schepens’ Eye Institute is currently working in this area. To read more about his work, please see the following web link: http://www.schepens.harvard.edu/research-storychen/dong-feng-chen-md-phd/research-story.html

    • Egle Z. says:

      Hello dear Naglaa,

      I have a very similar case as my father has Glaucoma too and he barely can see with his right eye and left eye is getting weak. I’m looking for any possible solutions and I’d like to know if you received any further details to your comment?

      Any advise or your experience would be a huge help!

      Thank you very much in advance.
      Egle

  2. Donna McFall says:

    This gives me hope! I have Stargardt’s Disease and am in the midst of losing my central vision. I don’t know if this is something that could help me in the future, but I am so glad that people like Mr. Flynn are out there being brave in order to help people in the future.

  3. namrata says:

    can you please tell to whom should i contact for argus -11 and what is the cost for INDIANS

  4. S.ANAND says:

    I need to find out whether any solution has been provided for the diesese called Retintis Pigmentosa (RP). I am an indian affected the same. I would like to know more research in progress. Please help me

    Rgds
    anand

  5. sajad says:

    My son .age21 is suffering from retinits pegmentosa by brith.He has lost his vision in right eye.Now he can see from right eye only.i also did stem cell tharpy.but no use.please help me.

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      There are three inherited forms of RP: recessive, dominant and X-linked. If you are not sure which type your son has, he should ask his ophthalmologist. For information on inheritance types, please see the following web link to download a PDF document on inheritance:
      http://www.blindness.org/sites/default/files/inheritance_of_retinal_degeneration_-_july_2012.compressed.pdf
      Your son should consider genetic testing to try and identify the mutant gene responsible for causing the disease. If the gene is identified, medical databases such as PubMed can be searched to identify any research that is being conducted. With a molecular diagnosis, one may also qualify for gene therapy trials that are taking place. For information on genetic testing, please see the following web link to download a PDF document: http://www.blindness.org/sites/default/files/genetic_testing_booklet_201311rev.pdf
      Whether the disease gene is identified or not, your son should still consider participating in FFB’s “My Retina Tracker”, a free registry that monitors clinical trials that are recruiting for various retinal diseases. For more information on “My Retina Tracker” please see the following web link:
      https://www.myretinatracker.org/ It may also be helpful to periodically check the website: http://WWW.CLINICALTRIALS.GOV which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health and contains a searchable list of clinical trials for most known diseases. Each clinical trial listing will provide you with information on what the study is about, the requirements for participating and contact information.

  6. Pete says:

    Hi
    There is a treatment in Cuba for Retinitis pigmentosa, it has worked for some, the cost is around 10 000 usd. Look for more information at the link below, I hope it helps, good luck
    http://www.healthservicecuba.com/retinitis-pigmentosa/

  7. Sheila says:

    I would appreciate any information and assistance in research and treatment for RP.
    Mt son is now 28 yrs old and was diagnosed at age 2yrs old. As you know all the affects of Retinitis Pigmentosa and we are looking for information and studies on a cure or help for him to continue to see to be able to work and function in everyday life. Please send information about Argus II.

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      I am sorry to hear of your son’s diagnosis. He should consider genetic testing to try and identify the mutant gene responsible for causing the disease. If the gene is identified, medical databases such as PubMed can be searched to identify any research that is being conducted on the gene or protein. With a molecular diagnosis, he may qualify for one of the gene therapy trials that are taking place. For information on genetic testing, please see the following web link to download a PDF document: http://www.blindness.org/sites/default/files/genetic_testing_booklet_201311rev.pdf
      Whether his disease gene is identified or not, he should still consider participating in FFB’s “My Retina Tracker”, a free registry that monitors clinical trials that are recruiting for various retinal diseases. For more information on “My Retina Tracker” please see the following web link:
      https://www.myretinatracker.org/
      It may also be helpful for your or your son to periodically check the website: http://WWW.CLINICALTRIALS.GOV which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health and contains a searchable list of clinical trials for most known diseases. Each clinical trial listing will provide you with information on what the study is about, the requirements for participating and contact information. If you would like to find out more information on the Argus-2, please check the following website: http://www.secondsight.com/

  8. bridgette says:

    I would like to know more about how much it cost and if insurance paid for it my friend is blind in one eye and going blind in the other an I want to help cause he a hard worker an got two small kids a have a gold digger wife who clean out his bank accounts and sure to that he can’t get no medicine and have no insurance so if this can help him please let me know were to go an what to do God Bless you for help those who need it

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      The cost of the Argus 2 bionic retina depends on your insurance company. Medicare already covers the Argus 2 and so you would only pay a small percentage of the total cost.

  9. Kathleen says:

    Does this still cost $100,000 or has the cost come down? Will Insurance pay for this?
    Thank you for your help.

  10. martha jaramillo says:

    my name is martha i have a daughter who was diagnosed with stargardt disease she will loosing her eyesight she is only 20 years old please help us if you know about a cure for her.

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      Dear Martha, you will be pleased to know that the Foundation Fighting Blindness is partnering with Sanofi Pharmaceuticals on a gene therapy clinical trial for Stargardt disease. For more information on this trial, see the following link:
      http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01367444?term=stargardt&recr=Open&no_unk=Y&rank=2 In order to participate in this or any other gene therapy trial, you must first obtain a molecular (genetic) diagnosis. For information on genetic testing, please see the following web link to download a PDF document: http://www.blindness.org/sites/default/files/genetic_testing_booklet_201311rev.pdf

      You should also consider enrolling in “My Retina Tracker”, a free registry that helps link people with retinal disease to appropriate clinical trials that are recruiting. For more information on “My Retina Tracker” please see the following web link: https://www.myretinatracker.org/

      Of general interest, there is a “Stargardt – Macular Degeneration” Facebook page where people can communicate with other people affected by Stargardt disease. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Stargardts/

      Finally, below is a list of pharmaceutical companies that are developing therapies for Stargardt Disease:

      Acucela,( http://www.acucela.com/) is a Seattle-based biotechnology company that is developing several drugs for retinal diseases such as AMD, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and Stargardt disease. Acucela’s visual cycle modulators (VCM) reduce the activity of the rod visual system — in essence, “slowing it down” and reducing the metabolic load on the retina. Reducing the speed of the visual cycle has been shown to protect the retina from light damage and reduce the accumulation of retinal-related toxic by-products, including A2E, which is implicated in both Stargardt disease and dry AMD. The Company’s lead investigational compound (Emixustat™) completed Phase 3 trials for dry AMD in June 2016. Unfortunately, the drug failed to slow lesion growth in over 500 patients with geographic atrophy, a form of dry AMD. Because of a strong demonstration of efficacy in the Stargardt mouse model, Acucela is considering initiating a study to explore potential benefits of Emixustat in patients with Stargardt disease.

      Ocata Therapeutics (https://www.ocata.com/), a Santa Monica-based biotechnology company, has developed an RPE cell line that is derived from embryonic stem cells (ESC). Studies have shown that the subretinal transplantation of ESC-RPE cells in a rat RP model resulted in 100% visual function rescue. Functional rescue was also achieved in the Stargardt mouse model with near-normal functional measurements recorded at more than 70 days. The RPE cell transplantation studies are now in Phase 2 human clinicals. Here is the link to the Clinical Trials.Gov recruitment web page: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01469832?term=advanced+cell+technology&rank=2
      *Note: It is not known how long the transplanted RPE cells will last in a human patient with Stargardt disease. Unless gene or pharmaceutical-based augmentation treatment is coupled to the RPE transplant, toxic A2E will continue to be produced and eventually kill the RPE cells.

      Alkeus, (http://alkeus.com/) Alkeus has developed a form of vitamin A that upon light interaction, does not form toxic vitamin A metabolites and A2E. Alkeus’ lead compound, ALK-001, is an oral compound with a well-understood mechanism of action. ALK-001 was specifically designed to treat Stargardt disease by preventing the formation of these toxic vitamin A dimers in the eye. Alkeus is currently recruiting patients for a Phase 2 human clinical trial. Here is the link to the clinical trials.gov recruitment page: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02402660

      Vision Medicine (Previously Visum) The Foundation Fighting Blindness is partnering with Vision Medicine to develop a small molecule therapy Stargardt disease. Vision Medicine’s novel approach proposes to develop drugs that will temporarily control levels of A2E in the eye and preserve the natural vision cycle, leading to a therapeutic treatment. Vision Medicine has discovered a unique chemical approach to sequester rather than eliminate A2E. Through this process, 25 diverse FDA approved drugs demonstrating both mechanistic and in vivo efficacy have been identified. Vision Medicine has identified a lead compound, VM 200, which is an enantiomer of an FDA approved drug that demonstrates complete retinal protection in preclinical studies. Vision Medicine plans to conduct Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in the near future.

      To read more about the partnership between Vision Medicine and FFB, see the following web link:
      http://www.blindness.org/foundation-news/foundation-fighting-blindness-partners-vision-medicines-develop-stargardt-disease
      Thank you for your support that is helping to accelerate the development of new safe and effective treatments for inherited retinal disease.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*