Technique expresses channelrhodopsin-2 in retinal neurons to restore light sensitivity.


RetroSense Therapeutics has taken up its option to acquire an exclusive global license to a gene-based approach to treating retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration, from researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The technique, developed by Zhuo-Hua Pan, Ph.D., and colleagues, involves genetically converting light-insensitive inner retinal neurons into photosensitive cells, to restore light sensitivity to retinas that lack photoreceptors. The approach uses a virus to deliver the green algae-derived photoreceptor gene channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) to retinal neurons. Initial studies by professor Pan’s team suggest that retinal neurons expressing ChR2 become light-sensitive, leading to restored responses to light in the visual cortex of the brain.

RetroSense was established in 2009 with a view to developing the channelrhodopsin technology, and is located close to Wayne State University. Lead product, RST-001, will be developed initially for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, with advanced dry-AMD as a follow-on indication. The firm projects initiating clinical trials before the end of 2012.

 “Channelrhodopsin-based approaches to vision restoration are garnering a great deal of attention from academia and industry right now,” comments Sean Ainsworth, founder and CEO at RetroSense. “It’s a very hot field and we are quite pleased to be aligned with Dr. Pan and his colleagues who pioneered the approach.” 








This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.