Jacobson, Samuel G

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    BEST1 Gene Therapy Corrects a Diffuse Retina-Wide Microdetachment Modulated by Light Exposure
    (2018-03-20) Guziewicz, Karina E; Cideciyan, Artur V; Beltran, William A; Komáromy, András M; Guziewicz, Karina E; Cideciyan, Artur V; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Ruthel, Gordon; Komáromy, András M; Dufour, Valerie L; Swider, Malgorzata; Jacobson, Samuel G; Sumaroka, Alexander; Kendrick, Brian T; Ruthel, Gordon; Chiodo, Vince A; Heon, Elise; Hauswirth, William W; Jacobson, Samuel G
    Mutations in the BEST1 gene cause detachment of the retina and degeneration of photoreceptor (PR) cells due to a primary channelopathy in the neighboring retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. The pathophysiology of the interaction between RPE and PR cells preceding the formation of retinal detachment remains not well-understood. Our studies of molecular pathology in the canine BEST1 disease model revealed retina-wide abnormalities at the RPE-PR interface associated with defects in the RPE microvillar ensheathment and a cone PR-associated insoluble interphotoreceptor matrix. In vivo imaging demonstrated a retina-wide RPE-PR microdetachment, which contracted with dark adaptation and expanded upon exposure to a moderate intensity of light. Subretinal BEST1 gene augmentation therapy using adeno-associated virus 2 reversed not only clinically detectable subretinal lesions but also the diffuse microdetachments. Immunohistochemical analyses showed correction of the structural alterations at the RPE-PR interface in areas with BEST1 transgene expression. Successful treatment effects were demonstrated in three different canine BEST1 genotypes with vector titers in the 0.1-to-5E11 vector genomes per mL range. Patients with biallelic BEST1 mutations exhibited large regions of retinal lamination defects, severe PR sensitivity loss, and slowing of the retinoid cycle. Human translation of canine BEST1 gene therapy success in reversal of macro- and microdetachments through restoration of cytoarchitecture at the RPE-PR interface has promise to result in improved visual function and prevent disease progression in patients affected with bestrophinopathies.
  • Publication
    Improvement in Vision: A New Goal for Treatment of Hereditary Retinal Degenerations
    (2015-05-04) Jacobson, Samuel G; Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Cideciyan, Artur V; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Roman, Alejandro J; Sumaroka, Alexander; Hauswirth, William W; Palczewski, Krzysztof
    Introduction: Inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) have long been considered untreatable and incurable. Recently, one form of early-onset autosomal recessive IRD, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by mutations in RPE65 (retinal pigment epithelium-specific protein 65 kDa) gene, has responded with some improvement of vision to gene augmentation therapy and oral retinoid administration. This early success now requires refinement of such therapeutics to fully realize the impact of these major scientific and clinical advances. Areas covered: Progress toward human therapy for RPE65-LCA is detailed from the understanding of molecular mechanisms to preclinical proof-of-concept research to clinical trials. Unexpected positive and complicating results in the patients receiving treatment are explained. Logical next steps to advance the clinical value of the therapeutics are suggested. Expert opinion: The first molecularly based early-phase therapies for an IRD are remarkably successful in that vision has improved and adverse events are mainly associated with surgical delivery to the subretinal space. Yet, there are features of the gene augmentation therapeutic response, such as slowed kinetics of night vision, lack of foveal cone function improvement and relentlessly progressive retinal degeneration despite therapy, that still require research attention.
  • Publication
    Calcium Channel Blocker D-cis-Diltiazem Does Not Slow Retinal Degeneration in the PDE6B Mutant rcd1 Canine Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa
    (2001-02-25) Aleman, Tomas S; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Pearce-Kelling, Susan E; Laties, Alan M; Aleman, Tomas S; Jacobson, Samuel G; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Nickle, Amanda; Laties, Alan M; Jacobson, Samuel G; Acland, Gregory M
    Purpose: D-cis-diltiazem, a calcium channel blocker, has been reported to enhance photoreceptor survival in the rd mouse, a model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) resulting from mutation of the PDE6B gene. We tested the hypothesis that diltiazem treatment would similarly rescue the canine rcd1 model of RP, which is also caused by a null mutation in the PDE6B gene. Methods: D-cis-diltiazem was delivered orally twice daily to rcd1 affected dogs beginning at 4 weeks of age; untreated age-matched rcd1 dogs served as controls. At 14 weeks, electroretinograms (ERG) were performed on all animals; 14 dogs were euthanized at this age, and 2 dogs at 25 weeks of age. Eyes were enucleated, fixed, and processed for routine histological examination. Results: No significant differences were found in ERG or histopathologic parameters between diltiazem-treated and untreated rcd1 dogs. Neither rcd1 group showed a rod b-wave; ERGs evoked by single white flashes (dark- or light-adapted) and flicker were also identical between groups. Similarly, treated and untreated animals did not differ in the degree of preservation of the photoreceptor layer, confirmed in cell counts within the outer nuclear layer. Conclusions: Treatment of rcd1 affected dogs with D-cis-diltiazem did not modify the photoreceptor disease when results were assessed using either ERG or histopathologic criteria. The positive photoreceptor-rescue effect of calcium channel blockers reported in the rd mouse was thus not generalizable to another species with retinal degeneration due to mutation in the PDE6B gene. Caution needs to be exerted in extrapolation to the comparable human forms of RP.
  • Publication
    Long-Term Restoration of Rod and Cone Vision by Single Dose rAAV-Mediated Gene Transfer to the Retina in a Canine Model of Childhood Blindness
    (2005-12-01) Aguirre, Gustavo D; Aleman, Tomas S; Cideciyan, Artur V; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Bennett, Jean; Aleman, Tomas S; Cideciyan, Artur V; Bennicelli, Jeannette; Dejneka, Nadine S; Jacobson, Samuel G; Maguire, Albert M; Palczewski, Krzysztof; Hauswirth, William W; Jacobson, Samuel G
    The short- and long-term effects of gene therapy using AAV-mediated RPE65 transfer to canine retinal pigment epithelium were investigated in dogs affected with disease caused by RPE65 deficiency. Results with AAV 2/2, 2/1, and 2/5 vector pseudotypes, human or canine RPE65 cDNA, and constitutive or tissue-specific promoters were similar. Subretinally administered vectors restored retinal function in 23 of 26 eyes, but intravitreal injections consistently did not. Photoreceptoral and postreceptoral function in both rod and cone systems improved with therapy. In dogs followed electroretinographically for 3 years, responses remained stable. Biochemical analysis of retinal retinoids indicates that mutant dogs have no detectable 11-cis-retinal, but markedly elevated retinyl esters. Subretinal AAV-RPE65 treatment resulted in detectable 11-cis-retinal expression, limited to treated areas. RPE65 protein expression was limited to retinal pigment epithelium of treated areas. Subretinal AAV-RPE65 vector is well tolerated and does not elicit high antibody levels to the vector or the protein in ocular fluids or serum. In long-term studies, wild-type cDNA is expressed only in target cells. Successful, stable restoration of rod and cone photoreceptor function in these dogs has important implications for treatment of human patients affected with Leber congenital amaurosis caused by RPE65 mutations.
  • Publication
    Successful Arrest of Photoreceptor and Vision Loss Expands the Therapeutic Window of Retinal Gene Therapy to Later Stages of Disease
    (2015-10-27) Beltran, William A; Cideciyan, Artur V; Beltran, William A; Cideciyan, Artur V; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Iwabe, Simone; Swider, Malgorzata; Kosyk, Mychajlo S; McDaid, Kendra S; Martynyuk, Inna; Ying, Gui-shuang; Shaffer, James; Jacobson, Samuel G; Boye, Sanford L; Lewin, Alfred S; Hauswirth, William W; Jacobson, Samuel G
    Inherited retinal degenerations cause progressive loss of photoreceptor neurons with eventual blindness. Corrective or neuroprotective gene therapies under development could be delivered at a predegeneration stage to prevent the onset of disease, as well as at intermediate-degeneration stages to slow the rate of progression. Most preclinical gene therapy successes to date have been as predegeneration interventions. In many animal models, as well as in human studies, to date, retinal gene therapy administered well after the onset of degeneration was not able to modify the rate of progression even when successfully reversing dysfunction. We evaluated consequences of gene therapy delivered at intermediate stages of disease in a canine model of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) caused by a mutation in the Retinitis Pigmentosa GTPase Regulator (RPGR) gene. Spatiotemporal natural history of disease was defined and therapeutic dose selected based on predegeneration results. Then interventions were timed at earlier and later phases of intermediate-stage disease, and photoreceptor degeneration monitored with noninvasive imaging, electrophysiological function, and visual behavior for more than 2 y. All parameters showed substantial and significant arrest of the progressive time course of disease with treatment, which resulted in long-term improved retinal function and visual behavior compared with control eyes. Histology confirmed that the human RPGR transgene was stably expressed in photoreceptors and associated with improved structural preservation of rods, cones, and ON bipolar cells together with correction of opsin mislocalization. These findings in a clinically relevant large animal model demonstrate the long-term efficacy of RPGR gene augmentation and substantially broaden the therapeutic window for intervention in patients with RPGR-XLRP.
  • Publication
    Safety in Nonhuman Primates of Ocular AAV2-RPE65, a Candidate Treatment for Blindness in Leber Congenital Amaurosis
    (2006-08-01) Jacobson, Samuel G; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Aleman, Tomas S; Jacobson, Samuel G; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Cideciyan, Artur V; Boye, Sanford L; Aleman, Tomas S; Komáromy, András M; Conlon, Thomas J; Zeiss, Caroline J; Roman, Alejandro J; Cideciyan, Artur V; Schwartz, Sharon B; Komáromy, András M; Maguire, Albert M; Doobrajh, Michelle; Cheung, Andy Y; Sumaroka, Alexandar; Pearce-Kelling, Susan E; Kaushal, Shalesh; Maguire, Albert M; Flotte, Terence R; Hauswirth, William W
    Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is a molecularly heterogeneous disease group that leads to blindness. LCA caused by RPE65 mutations has been studied in animal models and vision has been restored by subretinal delivery of AAV- RPE65 vector. Human ocular gene transfer trials are being considered. Our safety studies of subretinal AAV-2/2. RPE65 in RPE65 -mutant dogs showed evidence of modest photoreceptor loss in the injection region in some animals at higher vector doses. We now test the hypothesis that there can be vector-related toxicity to the normal monkey, with its human-like retina. Good Laboratory Practice safety studies following single intraocular injections of AAV-2/2. RPE65 in normal cynomolgus monkeys were performed for 1-week and 3-month durations. Systemic toxicity was not identified. Ocular-specific studies included clinical examinations, electroretinography, and retinal histopathology. Signs of ocular inflammation postinjection had almost disappeared by 1 week. At 3 months, electroretinography in vector-injected eyes was no different than in vehicle-injected control eyes or compared with presurgical recordings. Healed sites of retinal perforation from subretinal injections were noted clinically and by histopathology. Foveal architecture in subretinally injected eyes, vector or vehicle, could be abnormal. Morphometry of central retina showed no photoreceptor layer thickness abnormalities occurring in a dose-dependent manner. Vector sequences were present in the injected retina, vitreous, and optic nerve at 1 week but not consistently in the brain. At 3 months, there were no vector sequences in optic nerve and brain. The results allow for consideration of an upper range for no observed adverse effect level in future human trials of subretinal AAV-2/2. RPE65. The potential value of foveal treatment for LCA and other retinal degenerations warrants further research into how to achieve gene transfer without retinal injury from surgical detachment of the retina.
  • Publication
    Human Retinal Gene Therapy for Leber Congential Amaurosis Shows Advancing Retinal Degeneration Despite Enduring Visual Improvement
    (2013-02-05) Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Beltran, William A; Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Beltran, William A; Sumaroka, Alexander; Komáromy, András M; Iwabe, Simone; Roman, Alejandro J; Olivares, Melani B; Schwartz, Sharon B; Komáromy, András M; Hauswirth, William W
    Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) associated with retinal pigment epithelium-specific protein 65 kDa (RPE65) mutations is a severe hereditary blindness resulting from both dysfunction and degeneration of photoreceptors. Clinical trials with gene augmentation therapy have shown partial reversal of the dysfunction, but the effects on the degeneration are not known. We evaluated the consequences of gene therapy on retinal degeneration in patients with RPE65-LCA and its canine model. In untreated RPE65-LCA patients, there was dysfunction and degeneration of photoreceptors, even at the earliest ages. Examined serially over years, the outer photoreceptor nuclear layer showed progressive thinning. Treated RPE65-LCA showed substantial visual improvement in the short term and no detectable decline from this new level over the long term. However, retinal degeneration continued to progress unabated. In RPE65-mutant dogs, the first one-quarter of their lifespan showed only dysfunction, and there was normal outer photoreceptor nuclear layer thickness retina-wide. Dogs treated during the earlier dysfunction-only stage showed improved visual function and dramatic protection of treated photoreceptors from degeneration when measured 5–11 y later. Dogs treated later during the combined dysfunction and degeneration stage also showed visual function improvement, but photoreceptor loss continued unabated, the same as in human RPE65-LCA. The results suggest that, in RPE65 disease treatment, protection from visual function deterioration cannot be assumed to imply protection from degeneration. The effects of gene augmentation therapy are complex and suggest a need for a combinatorial strategy in RPE65-LCA to not only improve function in the short term but also slow retinal degeneration in the long term.
  • Publication
    Reply to Townes-Anderson: RPE65 Gene Therapy Does Not Alter the Natural History of Retinal Degeneration
    (2013-05-07) Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Beltran, William A; Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Beltran, William A; Hauswirth, William W
    We appreciate the interest shown by TownesAnderson in our article examining the natural history of retinal degeneration in Leber congenital amaurosis caused by retinal pigment epithelium-specific protein 65kDa (RPE65) mutations and evaluating the consequences of gene augmentation therapy. Townes-Anderson’s remarks focused on the final phrase of the last sentence of the Discussion of our article. In the full sentence, we suggested that in the future, agents to reduce cell death could be delivered in combination with a more advanced version of the gene augmentation therapy that reaches not only remaining rods and extrafoveal cones but also foveal cone photoreceptors.
  • Publication
    Canine Retina Has a Primate Fovea-Like Bouquet of Cone Photoreceptors Which Is Affected by Inherited Macular Degenerations
    (2014-03-05) Beltran, William; Cideciyan, Artur V; Beltran, William; Ruthel, Gordon; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Guziewicz, Karina E; Zorger, Richard; Scott, Erin M; Jacobson, Samuel G; Ruthel, Gordon; Stefano, Frank; Zhang, Lingli; Zorger, Richard; Sumaroka, Alexander; Jacobson, Samuel G
    Retinal areas of specialization confer vertebrates with the ability to scrutinize corresponding regions of their visual field with greater resolution. A highly specialized area found in haplorhine primates (including humans) is the fovea centralis which is defined by a high density of cone photoreceptors connected individually to interneurons, and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that are offset to form a pit lacking retinal capillaries and inner retinal neurons at its center. In dogs, a local increase in RGC density is found in a topographically comparable retinal area defined as the area centralis. While the canine retina is devoid of a foveal pit, no detailed examination of the photoreceptors within the area centralis has been reported. Using both in vivo and ex vivo imaging, we identified a retinal region with a primate fovea-like cone photoreceptor density but without the excavation of the inner retina. Similar anatomical structure observed in rare human subjects has been named fovea-plana. In addition, dogs with mutations in two different genes, that cause macular degeneration in humans, developed earliest disease at the newly-identified canine fovea-like area. Our results challenge the dogma that within the phylogenetic tree of mammals, haplorhine primates with a fovea are the sole lineage in which the retina has a central bouquet of cones. Furthermore, a predilection for naturally-occurring retinal degenerations to alter this cone-enriched area fills the void for a clinically-relevant animal model of human macular degenerations.
  • Publication
    Canine and Human Visual Cortex Intact and Responsive Despite Early Retinal Blindness from RPE65 Mutation
    (2007-06-26) Aguirre, Geoffrey K; Komáromy, András M; Cideciyan, Artur V; Brainard, David H; Aleman, Tomas S; Avants, Brian B; Gee, James C; Aguirre, Geoffrey K; Komáromy, András M; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Cideciyan, Artur V; Jacobson, Samuel G; Brainard, David H; Aleman, Tomas S; Roman, Alejandro J; Avants, Brian B; Gee, James C; Korczykowski, Marc; Hauswirth, William W; Acland, Gregory M; Jacobson, Samuel G
    Background RPE65 is an essential molecule in the retinoid-visual cycle, and RPE65 gene mutations cause the congenital human blindness known as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Somatic gene therapy delivered to the retina of blind dogs with an RPE65 mutation dramatically restores retinal physiology and has sparked international interest in human treatment trials for this incurable disease. An unanswered question is how the visual cortex responds after prolonged sensory deprivation from retinal dysfunction. We therefore studied the cortex of RPE65-mutant dogs before and after retinal gene therapy. Then, we inquired whether there is visual pathway integrity and responsivity in adult humans with LCA due to RPE65 mutations (RPE65-LCA). Methods and Findings RPE65-mutant dogs were studied with fMRI. Prior to therapy, retinal and subcortical responses to light were markedly diminished, and there were minimal cortical responses within the primary visual areas of the lateral gyrus (activation amplitude mean ± standard deviation [SD] = 0.07% ± 0.06% and volume = 1.3 ± 0.6 cm3). Following therapy, retinal and subcortical response restoration was accompanied by increased amplitude (0.18% ± 0.06%) and volume (8.2 ± 0.8 cm3) of activation within the lateral gyrus (p < 0.005 for both). Cortical recovery occurred rapidly (within a month of treatment) and was persistent (as long as 2.5 y after treatment). Recovery was present even when treatment was provided as late as 1–4 y of age. Human RPE65-LCA patients (ages 18–23 y) were studied with structural magnetic resonance imaging. Optic nerve diameter (3.2 ± 0.5 mm) was within the normal range (3.2 ± 0.3 mm), and occipital cortical white matter density as judged by voxel-based morphometry was slightly but significantly altered (1.3 SD below control average, p = 0.005). Functional magnetic resonance imaging in human RPE65-LCA patients revealed cortical responses with a markedly diminished activation volume (8.8 ± 1.2 cm3) compared to controls (29.7 ± 8.3 cm3, p < 0.001) when stimulated with lower intensity light. Unexpectedly, cortical response volume (41.2 ± 11.1 cm3) was comparable to normal (48.8 ± 3.1 cm3, p = 0.2) with higher intensity light stimulation. Conclusions Visual cortical responses dramatically improve after retinal gene therapy in the canine model of RPE65-LCA. Human RPE65-LCA patients have preserved visual pathway anatomy and detectable cortical activation despite limited visual experience. Taken together, the results support the potential for human visual benefit from retinal therapies currently being aimed at restoring vision to the congenitally blind with genetic retinal disease.