Purpose To provide an initial assessment of the safety of a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector expressing RPE65 (rAAV2-CB-hRPE65) in adults and children with retinal degeneration caused by RPE65 mutations. Design Nonrandomized, multicenter clinical trial. Participants Eight adults and 4 children, 6 to 39 years of age, with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) or severe early-childhood-onset retinal degeneration (SECORD). Methods Patients received a subretinal injection of rAAV2-CB-hRPE65 in the poorer-seeing eye, at either of 2 dose levels, and were followed up for 2 years after treatment. Main Outcome Measures The primary safety measures were ocular and nonocular adverse events. Exploratory efficacy measures included changes in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), static perimetry central 30° visual field hill of vision (V30) and total visual field hill of vision (VTOT), kinetic perimetry visual field area, and responses to a quality-of-life questionnaire. Results All patients tolerated subretinal injections and there were no treatment-related serious adverse events. Common adverse events were those associated with the surgical procedure and included subconjunctival hemorrhage in 8 patients and ocular hyperemia in 5 patients. In the treated eye, BCVA increased in 5 patients, V30 increased in 6 patients, VTOT increased in 5 patients, and kinetic visual field area improved in 3 patients. One subject showed a decrease in BCVA and 2 patients showed a decrease in kinetic visual field area. Conclusions Treatment with rAAV2-CB-hRPE65 was not associated with serious adverse events, and improvement in 1 or more measures of visual function was observed in 9 of 12 patients. The greatest improvements in visual acuity were observed in younger patients with better baseline visual acuity. Evaluation of more patients and a longer duration of follow-up will be needed to determine the rate of uncommon or rare side effects or safety concerns.
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