Microchip battles retinitis pigmentosa

November 8, 2006

Optobionics Corporation has announced positive interim results from a pilot clinical trial of its Artificial Silicon Retina (ASR) device, a treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.

Optobionics Corporation has announced positive interim results from a pilot clinical trial of its Artificial Silicon Retina (ASR) device, a treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.

A total of 20 patients were enrolled in a study to assess safety and to develop effective vision measures under an Investigational Device Exemption application approved by the FDA. At twelve months follow-up, of the ten subjects suffering with retinitits pigementosa, 40% attained a ten-letter improvement in visual acuity compared with a loss of vision for the untreated patients. No patient showed signs of implant rejection, infection, inflammation, erosion or retinal detachment related to the implanted device.

The ASR is a microchip designed to stimulate damaged retinal cells, allowing them to send visual signals again to the brain. As well as being a possible treatment option for retinitis pigmentosa, the manufacturers believe it could also be used to help treat age-related macular degeneration.