Ours is truly a translational Center, which means that our studies start with the patient, and we aim to develop therapies through a combination of laboratory – based and clinical research. The data that we gather from the patients can guide us to identifying the source of the disease and ultimately a way to measure the effects of an experimental treatment. Therefore, we carry out a number of non-invasive IRB-approved, human studies. The studies include standard clinical testing (such as visual acuity, visual field, light sensitivity testing), as well as high resolution imaging. Since vision relies on a partnership between the retina (where vision is initiated) and the brin (which processes the information sent by the retina), we carry out high resolution imaging on both structures. Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy (AO-SLO) is used to image the retina and a battery of structural and functional tests (including functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) is used to study vision in the brain.
Retinal disease can be studied via non-invasive observation of the retina. Recent improvement in adaptive optics (AO) ophthalmoscopy technique increases the transverse resolution of the retinal image to < 2 um, and enhanced its contrast.
This technology advancement allows for routinely characterize the photoreceptor mosaic in both normal and diseased eyes in vivo. CAROT investigators take a multi-modal approach to study retinal degeneration through non-invasive imaging. We utilize adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) to investigate retinal disease in patients on the individual cellular level. We image cone and rod structure and compare this structure with photoreceptor function. Our goals include: 1) Characterizing cellular structure and function in retinal disease 2) Assessing disease progression on the cellular level 3) Developing quantitative biomarkers for assessing treatment efficacy. Ultimately, we believe this study approach will lead to expedited development and assessment of efficacy for retinal and ocular therapeutics, and furthermore, may lead to the early diagnosis of retinal disease.
For more information on High-resolution Retinal Imaging studies conducted at CAROT, please see www.clinicaltrials.gov
Clinical Trial ID number: NCT01866371 or contact Dr. Jessica I. W. Morgan at jwmorgan at mail.med.upenn.edu.
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