There are no currently approved treatments for choroideremia, an X-linked progressive inherited retinal degeneration that leads to blindness by middle age. Several treatment options are being explored, but with major advances in adeno-associated vector (AAV) gene replacement therapy that has reached phase III clinical trials.
In this review we discuss new insights into the clinical phenotyping and genetic testing of choroideremia patients, that aid disease characterisation, progression and patient inclusion into clinical trials. Recent advances in in-vitro studies have resulted in the development of functional assays that can be used to confirm the diagnosis in challenging cases and to quantify vector potency for use in clinical trials. We review the progress in current gene therapy trials and some considerations towards gene therapy approval for the treatment of choroideremia. Lastly, we discuss developments in alternative therapies including optogenetics.
AAV gene replacement therapy is the most promising treatment strategy for choroideremia, that has developed exponentially over the last few years with a phase III clinical trial now underway. Optogenetics is a promising alternative strategy that might be applicable in late stages of degeneration.