Step forward for uveitis therapy

Promising trials in mice for the treatment of inflammatory eye disease without the complications of steroid use

20 Feb 2017 by Selina Powell

A new treatment could help to treat uveitis and diabetic retinopathy without the complications associated with steroid use.

Hokkaido University researchers used a new ribonucleic acid interface (RNAi) therapeutic agent to safely prevent ocular inflammation in mice.

The development may provide an alternative to the treatment of inflammatory eye disease with corticosteroids. Complications of using these drugs long-term can include cataracts, glaucoma, hypertension and osteoporosis.

Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine assistant professor, Dr Atsuhiro Kanda, told OT that the development of additional approaches to dealing with ocular inflammation was desirable to prevent the rate and degree of corticosteroid-induced complications.

“We have developed a new RNAi therapeutic agent that safely blocked ocular inflammation in mice, potentially making it a new treatment for human uveitis and diabetic retinopathy,” Dr Kanda highlighted.

Researchers were able to show that the activation of a receptor-associated prorenin system (RAPS) was involved in the pathogenesis of uveitis.

The scientists developed an interference agent that targeted this system and injected it into the eyes of mice.

The agent resulted in significant improvement in mouse models of both acute uveitis and chronic diabetic inflammation, without any apparent side effects.

Dr Kanda noted that future trials would test the long-term safety and effectiveness of the agent in treating inflammation-related ocular disorders. 

Image credit: Nick Harris


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