New drops are better than a needle in the eye
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a common eye disorder that can result in the loss of one's central vision. A team of scientists has developed a new treatment for the disorder that replaces the current monthly injection into the eye with a simple eye drop.
Just in the UK alone AMD affects over 600,000 people, and in the United States the disease is the most common cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50. Treatment at the moment consists of unpleasant injections directly into the eye. These injections not only have a risk of damaging the eye but we can all agree that the thought of having a needle inserted into our eyeball is about as off-putting as a medical procedure gets.
Thankfully a team of scientists from the University of Birmingham has developed a groundbreaking new treatment that can deliver the drug as an eye drop instead of an injection. The team produced a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) that can carry the drug to the relevant part of the eye within minutes.
The newly published study highlights effective, and non-toxic, delivery of AMD treating drugs using the CPP method into mouse, rat and pig eyes. The bioactivity of the eye-drops was demonstrated as equivalent to any alternate drug-delivery method.
"The CPP-drug has the potential to have a significant impact on the treatment of AMD by revolutionizing drug-delivery options," says Dr Felicity de Cogan. "Efficacious self-administered drug application by eye drop would lead to a significant reduction in adverse outcomes and health care costs compared with current treatments."
The CPP development means that drugs which need to be delivered directly to the posterior chamber of the eye could now be administered with a simple eye-drop instead of through invasive injections. While the team's initial studies have been in the delivery of AMD treatments, they do point out that this research could potentially be applied to other chronic ocular diseases.
The research was published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
Source: University of Birmingham
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The Chinese researchers have done animal tests with positive results.
Another advance in eye treatment in China is complete regeneration of lenses from stem cells. As yet only in animal tests. It takes about 6 months to regrow.
What has been done in humans is regeneration of corneas burned by heat or chemicals. Corneas naturally slowly regenerate from their outer edge, called the limbus. As long as part of the limbus of one cornea is good, stem cells can be harvested then spread across both corneas - where they spur the growth of healthy cells to replace the dead and damaged ones.