UK stem cell firm get US go ahead for RP trial

Surrey-based ReNeuron has received regulatory approval to test its cell therapy in up to 15 US patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa

05 May 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

UK-based stem cell company, ReNeuron, has received the go ahead for a landmark clinical trial to test its stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

ReNeuron, which has its headquarters in Guildford, Surrey, made the announcement yesterday (5 May) after receiving regulatory approval from the Federal Drug Administration to conduct the trial in the US.

The trial will be conducted at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and will be a ‘first-in-man’ study to assess the efficacy and safety of ReNeuron’s human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC) therapy to treat the inherited eye disease. 

RP is a group of inherited eye conditions which affect the photoreceptors of the retina, primarily the rods. As the cells breakdown the patient may lose low light vision (night blindness), leading to more progressive vision loss. The hRPCs are able to differentiate into a number of types of mature retinal cell, including photoreceptors, and may be able to ‘rescue’ remaining photoreceptors, as well as mature into new cells.

The trial will assess the therapy in up to 15 patients with advanced RP and is set to begin in the second half of 2015.

“We are delighted to have received regulatory approval to commence our first clinical trial in the US with our hRPC stem cell therapy candidate for RP,” said chief executive officer of ReNeuron, Olav Hellebø. 

Mr Hellebø added: “It is a testament both to our staff and to the quality of our hRPC technology that this first-in-man clinical trial application was approved so promptly. We are delighted to be working with Massachusetts Eye and Ear on this important clinical trial and we look forward to initiating the study later this year.”

Image credit: Christian Hamel

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