ARVO 2021 Highlight: Update on Clinical Trial of jCyte’s Cellular Therapy for RP
Cellular treatment provided significant improvements in visual acuity for subpopulation of patients with better vision
At the virtual 2021 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), David Liao, MD, PhD, a partner at Retina Vitreous Associates Medical Group in Los Angeles, presented an encouraging update on jCyte’s 84-participant, Phase 2b clinical trial of its cellular treatment for people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and related conditions. Thanks to the positive results, jCyte is planning a Phase 3 trial for the emerging treatment.
The goal of jCyte’s treatment is to preserve photoreceptors and restore function to photoreceptors that are no longer providing vision but haven’t fully degenerated. The approach, known as neuroprotection, is designed to work regardless of the mutated gene causing the patient’s vision loss.
Dr. Liao reported that the greatest effect from the treatment was observed for patients receiving 6 million cells, the highest dose. The change in visual acuity for all patients receiving the highest dose was 4.5 letters (about 1 line on an eye chart) greater than for those receiving a sham procedure (placebo).
However, the effect of the treatment was more significant for a subpopulation of patients with better vision and more remaining photoreceptors at the start of the trial. The change in visual acuity for this subpopulation receiving the highest dose was 14.5 letters (about three lines on an eye chart) greater than for those receiving the sham procedure. jCyte believes this subpopulation will be better responders to the treatment in the planned Phase 3 clinical trial.
Known as retinal progenitors, the jCyte cells used in the trial are similar to stem cells that haven't yet fully developed into mature photoreceptors. The progenitors are injected into the vitreous, the soft, gel-like substance in the middle of the eye. Intravitreal injections have a good record of safety and are commonly administered for other conditions in a doctor's office.