RetroSense Therapeutics Licenses Vision Restoration Technology From Wayne State

11/1/11Follow @XconomyDET

Ann Arbor, MI-based RetroSense Therapeutics recently inked a deal with Wayne State University to license a novel gene-therapy approach to treating blindness that was originally studied in the university’s School of Medicine. The treatment offers promise to people suffering with incurable blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people older than 60, affecting more than 8 million people in the United States alone. RP is a genetically-determined eye disease. An estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. have RP, which typically manifests as night blindness and progresses to tunnel vision or complete blindness.

Developed by Zua-Hua Pan, professor of anatomy and cell biology, the technology is designed to convert light-insensitive inner retinal neurons into photosensitive cells. Using a virus that delivers a photoreceptor gene from green algae called channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), Pan found that ChR2 made the inner retinal neurons become light sensitive, and that it persisted for long periods in the neurons, ultimately leading to restored responses to light in the visual cortex of the brain.

RetroSense has licensed the technology from Wayne State with the intention of eventually testing the technology in humans. Phase I clinical trials could begin as early as 2013.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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  • Connie Fogal

    I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. How does a person get into the clinical trials that you will be starting next year. I am night blinded and have tunnel vision. I had cataracts removed and lens inplants done so I see really good in that tunnel of vision. I am legally blind and on disability because of this disease. I used to go to the Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor for my eyes but have just been seeing a local Doctor in the recent years. Plese let me know how I can become a part of your program. Thank You. Connie Fogal

  • Connie Fogal

    I am interested in learning more about this new project on Retinitis Pigmentosa, which I have. I think I sent a message to you already but am not sure it went to the right address. What would I have to do to get into the clinical trials you may have next year? I live in Michigan about i hour from Wayne State and 2 hours from Univ of Mich. Please email me with any instructions on how to get into this clinical trial. I have a Retinal specialist here in Port Huron but I used to see Dr Seiving at the Kellogg Eye Center at the Univ. of Mich. campus. My phone number is 810-985-4688. Thank you. Connie Fogal