Retina Implant's microchip restores useful vision in patients blind due to retinitis pigmentosa

Retina Implant AG, a leading developer of subretinal implants for the visually impaired, today announced the publication of a peer-reviewed study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B discussing the technical and clinical results obtained during their first human clinical trial. The study authored by industry-leading physicians, including lead author Professor Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., director and chairman, Institute for Ophthalmic Research at University Eye Hospital Tuebingen, Germany appears in today's online edition of the journal and comes prior to the start of the U.K.'s first clinical trial. Professor Robert MacLaren, professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford and a consultant retinal surgeon at the Oxford Eye Hospital and Mr. Tim Jackson, a consultant retinal surgeon at King's College Hospital in London are expecting to implant the first U.K. patients in a trial due to start in 2011.

The study titled, "Subretinal electronic chips allow blind patients to read letters and combine them to words," details the visual results achieved during Retina Implant's first clinical trial. Patients involved in this trial were able to recognize foreign objects and read letters to form words. This study concludes that the implantation of Retina Implant's microchip was successful in restoring useful vision in patients previously blind due to retinitis pigmentosa.

"The publication of our research in the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal solidifies the work our team has done to restore useful vision to retinitis pigmentosa patients," said Professor Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., director and chairman, Institute for Ophthalmologic Research at University Eye Hospital Tuebingen, Germany. "Although not all retinitis pigmentosa sufferers are suitable for retinal implants, the results of our first clinical trial surpassed our expectations and reaffirmed that the subretinal placement of the microchip yielded optimal clinical results. With the success achieved during our first clinical trial, we've begun work in our second clinical trial and we hope to learn even more."

Retina Implant's first clinical trial began in Germany and involved subretinally implanting 11 patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, one of the most common forms of inherited retinal degeneration affecting approximately 200,000 people in the world. The 3 x 3 mm² array with 1500 electrodes was implanted below the retina, specifically in the macular region.

"The recent work by Professor Zrenner and his team in successfully testing this electronic retinal implant in blind people is without doubt a significant advance in this technology," said Professor Robert MacLaren, professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford and Consultant Surgeon at the Oxford Eye Hospital. "One previously blind patient was able to read his own name with the implant switched on. Up until now, this concept would have been considered only in the realms of science fiction. There are still however many questions, such as how long the chip will last and how might it be improved to give a sharper image. There is little doubt though that this research will now progress rapidly, given these excellent results presented from the first clinical trial."

To view these studies online at no cost to you, please visit:
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rspb.2010.1747.

SOURCE Retina Implant AG

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