Natural History Study of Usher Syndrome Type 1F Launches

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A new Foundation Fighting Blindness initiative just getting underway is a Natural History study of Usher Syndrome Type 1F (USH1F) caused by a mutation in the PCDH15 gene. The objective of the study is to understand the progression of the inherited condition.

The rare disease causes hearing loss, balance problems, difficulty with gaze stabilization, and progressive vision loss. In childhood or by early adolescence, individuals with USH1F will develop retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an eye disease that causes night blindness and a gradual loss of peripheral vision.

“The main purpose of a study like this is to help design clinical trials in the hopes of accelerating the research process, making sure the design is well-targeted, not too onerous and not too burdensome,” said Todd Durham, Foundation Vice President of Clinical & Outcomes Research. He described the study during a recent Sofia Sees Hope webinar about the Foundation’s My Retina Tracker® patient registry.

“If we can develop a way to measure the progress of the disease in the absence of a treatment, we can decide whether the follow-up period after administration of that treatment should be two years, would one year suffice, and what tools do we ultimately judge the efficacy of that new treatment.”