ReNeuron, a cellular therapy developer in the UK, has reported vision improvements in the treated eyes of the first three retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients in the Phase II part of the Phase I/II clinical trial for its proprietary human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC). The Phase I portion of the trial, completed last year, primarily assessed safety in subjects with minimal remaining vision.
Phase II patients in the ReNeuron study have more baseline vision and thus have have more potential for visual improvement. The Phase II patients read an average of three additional lines (five letters per line) on a standardized eye chart after receiving the emerging treatment, compared to an average loss of one letter in their untreated eyes. The results demonstrate objective improvement in visual acuity compared with the baseline vision in their treated eyes, and compared to their untreated eyes. The patients have also reported subjective improvements in vision.
“We are very excited by the remarkable early results that we have seen now that we have moved into a patient population with some remaining vision,” says Richard Beckman, MD, chief medical officer, ReNeuron. “If these gains can be maintained, and similar results achieved in other patients with even better remaining vision, we will be well on the path towards having a huge impact on the lives of patients with this devastating disease.”
“We are encouraged by ReNeuron’s early results of vision improvement for RP patients. We look forward to learning if the vision improvements are sustained over the long term,” says Stephen Rose, PhD, chief scientific officer, Foundation Fighting Blindness. “ReNeuron’s therapy holds promise for restoring vision in people with RP and related conditions, independent of their gene mutation.”
The Foundation Fighting Blindness funded Michael Young, PhD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, for pre-clinical and translational studies for the hRPC that helped make the ReNeuron trial possible. The hRPC are stem cells that have almost fully developed into photoreceptors, the retinal cells that make vision possible.
ReNeuron’s Phase I study in patients with extensive retinal damage and limited vision showed safety and visual stability that warranted moving the trial forward with a better-seeing patient population.
ReNeuron plans to report additional results from the study in mid-2019.
ReNeuron’s February 20, 2019, press release provides additional information on the trial.