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    Neuroprotective treatment promising for macular telangiectasia

    CNTF found effective in slowing vision loss from photoreceptor cell death in animal models

     

    Other potential treatments

    Though this approach is perhaps the most promising so far, the MacTel Project is also working on other potential treatments, Dr. Friedlander said. It is hoped its genetic studies—conducted by Rando Allikmets, PhD, Columbia University, New York; Melanie Bahlo, BSc Hons, PhD, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia; and Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, and Mark F. Leppert, PhD, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City—reveal more about the underlying etiology.

    In the meantime, “we have other things coming down the line,” Dr. Friedlander said. “If preliminary studies by Daniel Palanker, MSc, PhD, and Daniel Lavinsky, MD, PhD, then at Stanford University in California, are further validated, it may be that with subthreshold laser you may be able to get stabilization by inducing production of endogenous neuroprotective molecules.”

    LMRI is also working on developing stem cells and differentiating them into retinal cells.

    Although no treatment is yet available, Dr. Friedlander urged ophthalmologists to be on the lookout for patients with the following:

    ·      leakage on fluorescein angiography

    ·      right angle vessels

    ·      superficial crystalline deposits

    ·      telangiectasis

    ·      neovascularization

    ·      pigment migration

    ·      abnormal fundus autofluorescence

    ·      loss of retinal transparency, OCT abnormalities

    ·      inner segment/outer segment break

    ·      cavities, loss of macular pigment

    ·      blue light reflectance abnormalities,

    ·      selective cone outer segment loss

    ·      Müller glial death

    ·      subretinal deposits

    General ophthalmologists should refer such patients to the MacTel Project (www.lmri.net), Dr. Friedlander said. These patients might benefit by being enrolled in clinical trials or being notified quickly if a treatment becomes available.

     

     

    Martin Friedlander, MD, PhD

    E: [email protected]

    This article was adapted from Dr. Friedlander’s presentation at Retina Subspecialty Day during the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Friedlander has no financial interest in the subject matter.

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