Over the past decade, the successful development of novel drug treatments for retinal diseases has led to significant advances in patient care and outcomes. Cutting edge research opened the doors for therapeutics capable of successfully intervening in previously untapped neovascular and inflammatory pathways.
However, despite the tremendous progress that has been made in treating a number of retinal diseases, many patients are still faced with the frightening prospect of vision loss due to the lack of therapies capable of preventing the death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors.
For example, in retinal detachment cases, the event is very acute with continuous cell death occurring until surgery can be performed, a process that takes time to schedule and is often delayed, especially if the macula is fully detached.
Or, in new cases of wet AMD, even with advanced anti-VEGF therapies, the fluid does not resolve for several weeks to months, allowing for continued stress and death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors. Therefore, there remains a dramatic unmet need for treatments that can keep the cells alive until the photoreceptor-RPE homeostasis is restored. We believe that developing novel treatments in this area is positioned as the next frontier in retinal drug development.
And, in dry AMD, there has been a lack of progress and there are NO approved therapies to treat this disease. However, research is increasingly demonstrating that in dry AMD, Fas mediated apoptosis plays a role in both photoreceptor death and the death of the RPE that causes Geographic Atrophy (GA). ONL believes that blocking apoptosis of RPE may be a promising new therapeutic strategy to treat this critical unmet need.