Project 07

Examining Health Economic Impacts of RNA in treating retinal diseases.

Host institution: University College Cork
PhD: Yes
Duration: 36

Health systems globally face challenges contributing to rising healthcare costs.


One area facing increasing demands owing growing ageing populations and increased prevalence of conditions such as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration and others among those in older age groups is eye care. It is anticipate that global blindness will triple by 2050. As the field of RNA nanotechnology advances and becomes a clinical reality the clinical benefits will be realized.

However as is the case with most advances the additional costs need to be compared to the additional benefits to determine if the additional benefits are worth the additional costs, i.e. are they value for money or cost effective. Up until now the adoption of economic evaluations (or health technology assessments) in ophthalmology was slower than other clinical areas. Here we investigate the economic impacts of RNA therapies in treating retinal disease at the beginning of the life cycle. Early and iterative evaluations (the latter are updated as new evidence on effectiveness becomes available) are important to inform timely decision-making on service provision and research and development prioritization, to ensure access and value for money and can yield efficient savings. Furthermore, iterative and early evaluations can increase the speed of decision-making and reduce uncertainty around cost effectiveness estimates, and are therefore critical to ensure all eventualities are considered before widespread implementation (Gannon, 2017). The aim of this project is to investigate the potential economic impact of RNA in treating retinal diseases.


Expected results

  1. Systematic literature review on economic burden of retinal disease in Europe
  2. Economic model to estimate the expected economic impact of RNA therapies on treating retinal diseases in Europe
  3. Identification of expected challenges in examining cost effectiveness of RNA interventions

Planned secondments

  1. B1, supervisor: Javier Sancho-Pelluz
    Purpose: scientific background on retinal diseases and lab techniques
  2. AP6, supervisor: Sandra Redmond
    Purpose: training in scoping reviews and economic modelling
  3. AP7, supervisor: Beatriz Llamusí
    Purpose: business training