CHANGES IN RETINAL SENSITIVITY AFTER GENE THERAPY IN CHOROIDEREMIA.
Fischer MD., Ochakovski GA., Beier B., Seitz IP., Vaheb Y., Kortuem C., Reichel FFL., Kuehlewein L., Kahle NA., Peters T., Girach A., Zrenner E., Ueffing M., MacLaren RE., Bartz-Schmidt K., Wilhelm B.
PURPOSE: Choroideremia (CHM) is a rare inherited retinal degeneration resulting from mutation of the CHM gene, which results in absence of functional Rab escort protein 1 (REP1). We evaluated retinal gene therapy with an adeno-associated virus vector that used to deliver a functional version of the CHM gene (AAV2-REP1). METHODS: THOR (NCT02671539) is a Phase 2, open-label, single-center, randomized study. Six male patients (51-60 years) with CHM received AAV2-REP1, by a single 0.1-mL subretinal injection of 10 genome particles during vitrectomy. Twelve-month data are reported. RESULTS: In study eyes, 4 patients experienced minor changes in best-corrected visual acuity (-4 to +1 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study [ETDRS] letters); one gained 17 letters and another lost 14 letters. Control eyes had changes of -2 to +4 letters. In 5/6 patients, improvements in mean (95% confidence intervals) retinal sensitivity (2.3 [4.0] dB), peak retinal sensitivity (2.8 [3.5] dB), and gaze fixation area (-36.1 [66.9] deg) were recorded. Changes in anatomical endpoints were similar between study and control eyes. Adverse events were consistent with the surgical procedure. CONCLUSION: Gene therapy with AAV2-REP1 can maintain, and in some cases, improve, visual acuity in CHM. Longer term follow-up is required to establish whether these benefits are maintained.