Week in review: Transplant concerns, first-in-class, rosette deposits

Week in review: Transplant concerns, first-in-class, rosette deposits


By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan

Cataract/Anterior Segment, Cornea/External Disease, Glaucoma, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

Researchers report the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in post-mortem corneal tissue. They assessed 132 ocular tissues from 33 donors and detected coronavirus RNA in 13% of samples. A small subset of eyes was successfully disinfected with 5% povidone-iodine, but the efficacy of disinfection needs to be confirmed in a larger study, explained Shahzad Mian, MD, at Kellogg Eye Center. “The takeaway I hope other physicians have when reading this study is that following elaborate donor screening procedures to mitigate the risk of pathogen transmission during transplant, as well as testing post-mortem donors for COVID-19 specifically, when there is no COVID-19 nasal swab testing, is critically important as professionals in this field.” Kellogg Eye Center, The Ocular Surface

A first-in-class glaucoma eye drop posted positive phase 2 results in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, according to Aerpio Pharmaceuticals. Twice-daily administrations of latanoprost and razuprotafib—a small molecule that activates the Tie2 pathway—led to significantly lower IOP than eyes treated with latanoprost alone. Once-daily razuprotafib monotherapy did not appear to offer any significant benefits. Additional results are expected in the first half of 2021. Aerpio Pharmaceuticals

Meanwhile, another phase 2 trial demonstrated the potential of a first-in-class treatment for dry eye disease. In the 160-patient study, the melanocortin agonist PL9643 appeared to significantly improve signs and symptoms of moderate to severe disease at 2 and 12 weeks. The treatment was well tolerated and did not induce safety concerns. “The emerging profile of PL9643, with its rapid therapeutic onset and excellent tolerability profile, is a potentially distinct advance in dry eye therapy,” said principal investigator Kenneth Kenyon, MD. Palatin Technologies plans to initiate a phase 2/3 trial mid-2021. Palatin Technologies

A new transplantable retinal patch is under development, thanks to more than $5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. Lead investigator David Gamm, MD, PhD, plans to use induced pluripotent stem cells to design a patch that can replace damaged photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium. He hopes the patch will eventually restore vision to military personnel blinded while on duty and treat degenerative eye diseases. University of Wisconsin–Madison

A new case study details a curious case of rosette-shaped deposits on the anterior IOL surface. Physicians from Denmark observed the phenomenon in a 25-year-old woman with pauciarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and associated panuveitis complicated by cataract and glaucoma. At age 6, she underwent cataract surgery and received a corneal ACR6D hydrophilic acrylic IOL. Subsequently, bilateral deposits with a unique rosette-shaped morphology developed on the anterior IOL surface. Surgeons attempted surgical and Nd:YAG laser removal, but both were unsuccessful. Thus far, there have only been 2 identified cases of calcium phosphate deposits of a similar morphology in the pediatric age group. Ophthalmology