World Retinitis Pigmentosa Day will be held this Sunday, September 25. The occasion has been promoted by patients’ associations of patients and relatives of those affected by the disease in order to raise society’s awareness on the limitations it imposes and call for increased efforts in research.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a degenerative, hereditary pathology and the leading cause of blindness in the world. It affects one in every 2,000 people, mainly young people. The initial symptoms are a difficulty to adapt to darkness and the progressive loss of the visual field. Over 15,000 people are affected in Spain and it is calculated that 60,000 carry the defective genes responsible for the disease.
One of Spain’s most active associations, Begisare in the Basque Country, has organised a charity event for Sunday in San Sebastian (Guipuzcoa). Under the motto “The Fight Against the Dark Side”, a variety of activities will be held to draw attention to the disease.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is one of the founding reasons for the Barcelona Macula Foundation’s existence. We collaborate closely with research and care centres in developing treatment that can prevent vision loss and even restore it. Gene and stem cell therapies are the great hope in this regard.
Among the studies on Retinitis Pigmentosa conducted by the BMF is the iPSC Project, which seeks to identify and differentiate the cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). This should serve to design different cellular products for regeneration of the RPE in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa, AMD and Stargardt’s Disease (Phase I of a clinical trial).