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    New treatments developed for inherited retinal diseases

    At least 40 new treatments for inherited retinal diseases are being developed, but only two are currently commercially available, according to the authors of a new review.

    “Most of the health technologies identified are still at an early stage of development and it is difficult to estimate when treatments might be available,” write Joanna Smith of the NIHR Horizon Scanning Centre at the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and her colleagues from two other UK centres.

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    The authors scanned medical databases, and spoke to patients, clinical experts and commercial developers to identify those technologies on the horizon. They published their findings on 26 June in the journal Eye.

    New treatments could help a lot of people in the United Kingdom, according to the authors. There are more than 100 inherited retinal diseases, all of them incurable. In England and Wales they are the leading cause of visual impairment registration in the working-age population, the authors report. Healthcare providers currently manage the diseases with genetic counselling and education. They try to improve the patients’ residual vision with low vision aides, computer software, orientation and mobility training. Some people in the United Kingdom, however, don’t have access to these services, Dr Smith and her colleagues found.

    The researchers counted 29 new technologies whose developers claim to have the potential to slow or stop the diseases in the relatively near term, and another 11 relevant technologies in earlier phases of development. Of these, the ARGUS II and the Alpha IMS are commercially available and CE marked.

    Next: Breaking down the new technologies

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