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Eye (Lond). 2015 Sep;29(9):1131-40. doi: 10.1038/eye.2015.115. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

New and emerging technologies for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases: a horizon scanning review.

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NIHR Horizon Scanning Centre, University of Birmingham, School of Health and Population Sciences, Birmingham, UK.
UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK.
Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK.


The horizon scanning review aimed to identify new and emerging technologies in development that have the potential to slow or stop disease progression and/or reverse sight loss in people with inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). Potential treatments were identified using recognized horizon scanning methods. These included a combination of online searches using predetermined search terms, suggestions from clinical experts and patient and carer focus groups, and contact with commercial developers. Twenty-nine relevant technologies were identified. These included 9 gene therapeutic approaches, 10 medical devices, 5 pharmacological agents, and 5 regenerative and cell therapies. A further 11 technologies were identified in very early phases of development (typically phase I or pre-clinical) and were included in the final report to give a complete picture of developments 'on the horizon'. Clinical experts and patient and carer focus groups provided helpful information and insights, such as the availability of specialised services for patients, the potential impacts of individual technologies on people with IRDs and their families, and helped to identify additional relevant technologies. This engagement ensured that important areas of innovation were not missed. 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. Further, well designed trials that generate data on efficacy, applicability, acceptability, and costs of the technologies, as well as the long-term impacts for various conditions are required before these can be considered for adoption into routine clinical practice.

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