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Efficacy and Safety of Intravitreal Gene Therapy for Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy Treated within 6 Months of Disease Onset.

Ophthalmology. 2021 Jan 12:S0161-6420(20)31187-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.12.012. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33451738.

Authors/Editors: Newman NJ, Yu-Wai-Man P, Carelli V, Moster ML, Biousse V, Vignal-Clermont C, Sergott RC, Klopstock T, Sadun AA, Barboni P, DeBusk AA, Girmens JF, Rudolph G, Karanjia R, Taiel M, Blouin L, Smits G, Katz B, Sahel JA; LHON Study Group.
Publication Date: 2021


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of a single intravitreal injection of rAAV2/2-ND4 in subjects with visual loss from Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON).

Design: RESCUE is a multicenter, randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled, phase 3 clinical trial.

Participants: Subjects with the m.11778G>A mitochondrial DNA mutation and vision loss ≤6 months from onset in 1 or both eyes were included.

Methods: Each subject’s right eye was randomly assigned (1:1) to treatment with rAAV2/2-ND4 (single injection of 9 × 1010 viral genomes in 90 μl) or to sham injection. The left eye received the treatment not allocated to the right eye.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary end point was the difference of the change from baseline in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) between rAAV2/2-ND4–treated and sham-treated eyes at week 48. Other outcome measures included contrast sensitivity, Humphrey visual field perimetry, retinal anatomic measures, and quality of life. Follow-up extended to week 96.

Results: Efficacy analysis included 38 subjects. Mean age was 36.8 years, and 82% were male. Mean duration of vision loss at time of treatment was 3.6 months and 3.9 months in the rAAV2/2-ND4–treated eyes and sham-treated eyes, respectively. Mean baseline logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) BCVA (standard deviation) was 1.31 (0.52) in rAAV2/2-ND4–treated eyes and 1.26 (0.62) in sham-treated eyes, with a range from −0.20 to 2.51. At week 48, the difference of the change in BCVA from baseline between rAAV2/2-ND4–treated and sham-treated eyes was −0.01 logMAR (P = 0.89); the primary end point of a −0.3 logMAR (15-letter) difference was not met. The mean BCVA for both groups deteriorated over the initial weeks, reaching the worst levels at week 24, followed by a plateau phase until week 48, and then an improvement of +10 and +9 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study letters equivalent from the plateau level in the rAAV2/2-ND4–treated and sham-treated eyes, respectively.

Conclusions: At 96 weeks after unilateral injection of rAAV2/2-ND4, LHON subjects carrying the m.11778G>A mutation treated within 6 months after vision loss achieved comparable visual outcomes in the injected and uninjected eyes.

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