An international, multicentre study has revealed microperimetry testing shows promise in determining the effectiveness of emerging treatments to slow down vision loss Stargardt patients.
The Progression of atrophy secondary to Stargardt disease (ProgStar) study demonstrates that microperimetry’s mean sensitivity and deep scotoma points offers a sensitive test for detecting progression within a short study period, explained lead investigator Professor Hendrik Scholl, chair of Basel University’s ophthalmology department and clinical director of the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB).
“Potentially, microperimetry may even detect changes in early stages of Stargardt disease, before structural changes have developed. This would allow interventions before the disease progresses to advanced stages.”
Prof Scholl’s IOB team is currently working on a potential gene therapy treatment, which he said he hopes will reach the clinic within the next five years. As part of this, the IOB team use base editing to change the mutated genetic code directly by reverting disease-causing mutations back to normal; similar to correcting a single typo in a text, said Prof Scholl. “The results of the ProgStar study provide indispensable measurement tools for this approach, helping us develop a treatment for this blinding condition.”
Stargardt disease is an inherited eye disease, that currently remains untreatable. Its onset is typically in adolescence and it is one of the leading causes of blindness in this age group. Symptoms range from severe loss of sharp vision to almost complete loss of sight.
The ProgStar study report was published by JAMA Ophthalmology.