Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (2021-06-01)

RPE65-associated inherited retinal diseases: consensus recommendations for eligibility to gene therapy

  • Andrea Sodi,
  • Sandro Banfi,
  • Francesco Testa,
  • Michele Della Corte,
  • Ilaria Passerini,
  • Elisabetta Pelo,
  • Settimio Rossi,
  • Francesca Simonelli,
  • Italian IRD Working Group

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 1
pp. 1 – 11


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Abstract Background This research aimed to establish recommendations on the clinical and genetic characteristics necessary to confirm patient eligibility for gene supplementation with voretigene neparvovec. Methods An expert steering committee comprising an interdisciplinary panel of Italian experts in the three fields of medical specialisation involved in the management of RPE65-associated inherited retinal disease (IRD) (medical retina, genetics, vitreoretinal surgery) proposed clinical questions necessary to determine the correct identification of patients with the disease, determine the fundamental clinical and genetics tests to reach the correct diagnosis and to evaluate the urgency to treat patients eligible to receive treatment with voretigene neparvovec. Supported by an extensive review of the literature, a series of statements were developed and refined to prepare precisely constructed questionnaires that were circulated among an external panel of experts comprising ophthalmologists (retina specialists, vitreoretinal surgeons) and geneticists with extensive experience in IRDs in Italy in a two-round Delphi process. Results The categories addressed in the questionnaires included clinical manifestations of RPE65-related IRD, IRD screening and diagnosis, gene testing and genotyping, ocular gene therapy for IRDs, patient eligibility and prioritisation and surgical issues. Response rates by the survey participants were over 90% for the majority of items in both Delphi rounds. The steering committee developed the key consensus recommendations on each category that came from the two Delphi rounds into a simple and linear diagnostic algorithm designed to illustrate the patient pathway leading from the patient’s referral centre to the retinal specialist centre. Conclusions Consensus guidelines were developed to guide paediatricians and general ophthalmologists to arrive at the correct diagnosis of RPE65-associated IRD and make informed clinical decisions regarding eligibility for a gene therapy approach to RPE65-associated IRD. The guidelines aim to ensure the best outcome for the patient, based on expert opinion, the published literature, and practical experience in the field of IRDs.