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12:00 AM
Jul 19, 2010
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Eos Neuroscience: Lighting the way

Eos developing gene therapy to restore sight in retinitis pigmentosa and dry AMD

When photoreceptor cells die, the retina is no longer sensitive to light even though retinal cells downstream in the phototransduction cascade remain intact. Eos Neuroscience Inc. is developing a gene therapy to make a specific population of these downstream cells light sensitive, which it thinks can restore sight to people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa and dry age-related macular degeneration.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a blanket term for a group of genetic disorders that lead to dystrophy of photoreceptors, resulting in blindness. Vitamin A can slow progression, but there is no cure.

CSO Alan Horsager told BioCentury there are about 100,000 retinitis pigmentosa patients in the U.S., 20% of whom are legally blind. He added there are about 350,000-400,000 dry AMD patients who are legally blind in the U.S.

A typical gene therapy approach would be to replace the defective gene, but Horsager said that's not feasible for retinitis pigmentosa because there are about 180 genes involved in the phototransduction cascade, and the culprit mutations are distributed evenly...

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