Mitigation of Equine Recurrent Uveitis through Topical Application of Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Mimetic Peptide: Clinical Trial

The University of Florida Large Animal Hospital will be recruiting horses with Equine Recurrent Uveitis beginning February 2017 for a clinical trial.
  • Inclusion Criteria: Horses that have been previously or newly diagnosed with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU).
  • Exclusion Criteria: Horses that are currently receiving topical (on the eye) or systemic (oral, injectable) anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Procedures: Once enrolled, your horse will receive a physical and ophthalmic (eye) exam, a retinal function test, and a blood sample will be collected. Your horse will then be admitted to the hospital so that they can be observed closely during the first 4-7 days of treatment with a study medication that will be applied topically to the affected eye(s) twice daily. If any irritation or worsening inflammation of the eye occurs, your horse will be removed from the study and standard therapy started. Once your horse has been deemed tolerant of the drug, s/he will be discharged to home care and care-takers will be instructed on how to deliver the medication twice daily. Your horse will be required to return in two weeks for a follow-up examination, a retinal function test, and collection of a blood sample. If the study drug works as expected, you will be provided with one year’s worth of the drug for continued treatment at home.
  • Cost: The study will cover the cost of the initial evaluation examination to determine eligibility, as well as the retinal function exam, hospitalization for 4-7 days during initiation of therapy, the costs of study drug for the duration of the study (and for one year thereafter if positive results are noted), the costs of standard or rescue medical therapy if deemed necessary during the initial period of hospitalization, and subsequent recheck retinal function test examination fees. The details will be discussed with you during your horse’s visit.
  • Study Contact: Blanca Carbia; becarbia@ufl.edu. If you would like to schedule an evaluation appointment, please call 352-392-2229.
  • Principal Investigator: Caryn Plummer, DVM, DACVO

 

Background:

Uveitis is a very common condition in horses in which the inside of the eyes become inflamed. It is the most common cause of blindness in horses, causing intraocular (inside the eye) scarring, cataracts (cloudiness of the lens), glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), problems with the retina (cell layer at the back of the eye that detects light), as well as other problems and complications. It is also called equine recurrent uveitis (ERU), periodic ophthalmia or moon blindness, and is a chronic disease for which there are currently no cures. The disease that affects horses is very similar to that of humans, so the horse is also the best model of human uveitis.

There is a critical need for the development of new therapies for uveitis in both horses and humans. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of a novel protein, called “suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)” to decrease the damaging inflammation that occurs in uveitis. SOCS proteins are naturally occurring suppressors made by the body and have been shown in mice with experimentally-induced uveitis to decrease severity of disease without complications or side effects. Thus, the goal of the current study is to determine the effectiveness of a SOCS-like protein to decrease the inflammation that occurs in horses with ERU.