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Foundation News » Retinitis Pigmentosa
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DHA to be Studied as Treatment for X-Linked RP

Monday, 19 February 2007

An FFB-funded investigative team from the Retina Foundation of the Southwest is conducting a Phase II clinical trial of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the treatment of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP).

Some retinal experts believe that DHA supplementation may slow the progress of XLRP and other forms of retinal degenerative disease including age-related macular degeneration and the dominant form of Stargardt disease.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is abundant in the retinas of humans and other mammals, and is important for optimal retinal health. People can obtain DHA through dietary supplements or the consumption of coldwater fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel.

Though the overall findings of two previous clinical trials of DHA supplementation for people with XLRP were not strongly conclusive, Dennis Hoffman, Ph.D., Principal Investigator for the current study, believes that a larger trial with higher doses may show that DHA can slow disease progress and vision loss. Hoffman notes that in the earlier studies, subgroups of participants under 12 years of age who took DHA supplements had significant slowing of disease progression.

For the upcoming study, a total of 66 patients will be enrolled and randomly assigned to receive either a high-dose DHA supplement (based on body weight) or a placebo for four years. Participants must be males between the ages of 7 and 32 with a diagnosis of XLRP (XLRP is most severe in males). Participants must have sufficient visual function so that disease progression and vision changes can be followed for the entire trial. Participants must also be willing to travel to Dallas, Texas, for annualone- or two-day evaluations for the entire duration of the four-year study. Participants will receive $200 plus compensation for accommodations and travel from the U.S. or Canada.

For more information about the DHA trial for XLRP, contact:

Dennis R. Hoffman, Ph.D., 214-363-3911, ext. 125, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
David G. Birch, Ph.D., 214-363-3911, ext. 105, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

DISCLAIMER: Physicians differ in their approach to incorporating research results into their clinical practice. You should always consult with and be guided by your Physician’s advice when considering treatment based on research results.

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