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Could Combining Future Treatments Be an Option?

Image of test tubesVISIONS 2012, the Foundation’s annual conference, taking place in Minneapolis, is only two weeks away. I am very much looking forward to all the science presentations, especially the closing session on Sunday, July 1 — not only because I will moderate, but because it will cover three promising clinical trials, as well the exciting prospect of someday combining therapies.

This blog will provide highlights from the conference as it’s happening, but for those who might be able to make it, here is the Sunday morning line-up:

Not only will they provide the latest updates on their human studies; they’ll also discuss how therapies will likely be used synergistically in the future.

For example, if you are a person with moderate to advanced RP, the ideal solution might be a gene therapy to halt the disease in your existing retinal cells coupled with stem cells to replace the rods and cones you’ve lost.

Or consider this example: Let’s say you have RP and are taking vitamin A to slow the progress of vision loss and a drug becomes available that also slows vision loss. Does that mean you stop taking vitamin A? Maybe not — it depends on if and how the new treatment and vitamin A can work together. (By the way, Dr. Eliot Berson will talk about vitamin A, lutein, and oily fish at the 3:45 p.m. session on Friday, June 30.)

A third example: We are getting closer to the day when your skin or blood may be your own source of stem cells. That magic is done through a process called inducing pluripotent stem cells, and gene therapy may be used to correct the genetic defect so the cells are disease-free when they are put into your retina.

Of course, combination therapies are a ways off, but this closing session will underscore why it is important to consider multiple treatments and not just one approach to saving your vision. I am sure the discussions will be lively and informative.

So, I hope to see you in Minneapolis. If you’re planning to go, make sure you stick around for the grand finale on Sunday.

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4 Responses to 'Could Combining Future Treatments Be an Option?'

  1. Carol Brill says:

    It’s wonderful to be at this stage of thinking about “which treatments should we choose?” I was diagnosed 30 years ago and back then, it was a case of very little hope. It is only in the last year that I now have real hope that my sight will be saved at some point in the future, thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to make this happen. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at the Visions Conference and being ‘educated’ about all the latest advances in research. Dr Rose – you write a great blog – thank you for all the updates.

  2. First off, I love the blog. Your posts are pertinent and to the point. Secondly, thanks so much for posting things that I can use in my research on eye disease and how it relates to other bodily disorders. I appreciate your efforts and your blog. Thanks!

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