Retina Implant AG, a leading developer of subretinal implants for the visually impaired, today announced the presentation of initial findings from their second clinical trial. Results showed that the first seven patients who were permanently implanted with the company's subretinal implant restored useful visual function enabling them to improve activities of daily living. Previous data presented on the success of their subretinal microchip included the use of an external power source and this data is the first time patients have been able to restore vision using a power supply implanted under the skin.
The poster presentation presented by lead author, Professor Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., director and chairman of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the Centre for Ophthalmology of the University of Tuebingen, Germany, is one of six Retina Implant-related presentations being delivered at the 2011 Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting convening May 1-5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Dr. Zrenner's presentation entitled, "Vision Mediated by the Subretinal Implant: Improvement for Activities of Daily Living-Preliminary Results," highlights the preliminary results of the company's second clinical trial in which seven patients received a permanent subretinal implant in one eye with the power supply implanted beneath the skin. The participating patients achieved statistically significant or highly significant vision performance when identifying geometrical shapes and common table placement items, and when compared to the pilot study, have the benefit of permanent implantation that enables them to move more freely when participating in activities of daily living outside a laboratory in real-life settings.
"The results presented today provide continued encouragement in the fight 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. "As we continue our research we look forward to providing patients who are currently living in the dark with an opportunity to not only see light and images, but also to be able to provide them with the independence in accomplishing tasks in everyday life."
Affecting approximately 300,000 people in the world, retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is one of the most common forms of inherited retinal degenerations that grows worse over time. This progressive condition typically causes severe vision problems in adulthood, often resulting in complete blindness. With the introduction of the subretinal implant, patients can now focus and see objects the size of a knife or spoon as the eye regularly moves regardless of the direction in which their head faced.
"Our team is encouraged by the results of this study and we look forward to continuing to build on the successes we have seen in the clinical trials by replicating this study in order to impact more lives," said Dr. Walter-G. Wrobel, president and CEO, Retina Implant AG. "This study proves that the technology can work well while offering patients the mobility and the freedom to see beyond the laboratory setting. We look forward to presenting additional data in the future as more patients are implanted in Germany and beyond."
In March 2011, Retina Implant announced it has partnered with the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, Penn., as the lead U.S. clinical trial investigator site, which marks the first time Retina Implant's subretinal implant technology will be utilized in studies by patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa in North America.