Today, my attention was caught by The New York Academy of Sciences forthcoming seminar on “Angiogenesis: Breakthroughs in Basic Science and Therapeutic Applications.”
Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and the Dr Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, the seminar (free registration) features some distinguished speakers including Napoleone Ferrara, MD who is giving a presentation on the “Discovery of Anti-Angiogenesis Therapies for Cancer and Ocular Disease.”
I’m particularly interested in hearing the panel discussion in the afternoon on the “future of angiogenic medicine,” and the potential of gene transfer therapy as a treatment option.
Those following this area will already know that ocular gene therapy was a topic of discussion at the FDA Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee meeting in June this year.
The briefing document for the meeting discusses how a number of inherited retinal diseases such as Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Stargardt Disease and Retinitis Pigmentosa might benefit from gene therapy. Given the standard of care is largely supportive in many of these disorders, the potential benefits are huge.
Gene therapy may also offer benefits in the treatment of acquired retinal disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people aged 50 years of older in the developed world.
In a presentation to the meeting by Professor Peter Campochiaro of the Wimer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, he noted the burden of regular introcular injections.
Potential gene therapy products for retinal disease, such as those using viral vectors and plasmid DNA vectors into which a transgene can be inserted, will be an interesting area to watch.