Un-dry those eyes

New solutions to treat dry eye disease are progressing successfully

12 Jan 2017 by Olivia Wannan

Dry eye specialty optometrists may soon be able to add new tools to their treatment arsenal, as international research progresses on new therapies.

Researchers at the University of Virginia hope that a natural protein found in tears may one day offer relief to dry eye patients.

University of Virginia cell biologist, Professor Gordon Laurie, was part of the team that discovered the protein – which was named lacritin – using biochemical screening. Later studies showed that its active form, which lubricates the cornea, is frequently missing in dry eye patients.

Professor Laurie and his fellow researchers have now created an eye drop called Lacripep that replaces lacritin in the eye.

Working as part of the new spin-out company TearSolutions, Professor Laurie told OT that he will launch a four-week, early stage clinical trial for 201 patients with Sjögren’s syndrome. Patients will receive a placebo or Lacripep, in either a low or a high dose.

“This is a small step in our mission to provide…dry eye sufferers with a truly effective treatment,” Professor Laurie highlighted.

Closer to market are Seciera eye drops, a new formation using the immunosuppressant cyclosporine A enclosed in spheres of molecules at the nanometre scale.

After the medication demonstrated quick and effective action on 455 patients over 12 weeks of treatment, its owner Sun Pharma is planning to launch the eye drop in Europe, the US and Japan.

Sun Pharma managing director, Dilip Shanghvi, emphasised that: “These results are highly encouraging for millions of dry eye patients across the globe that have yet to find relief for their condition.”

Image credit: Jesse Vislisel, Brice Critser

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