Scientists at the University of Birmingham and Queen’s University Belfast are developing an eye drop that could be used as an alternative delivery method for anti-VEGF therapies.
The development holds potential for avoiding the potential complications of repeated injections used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at present.
The research, published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, revealed that a cell penetrating peptide (CPP) can be used to deliver drugs for the treatment of wet AMD as eye drops.
Scientists found the same outcomes whether the therapy was delivered by injection into the eye, or by the CPP eye drop.
Dr Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, told OT that most of the side effects from treatment for wet AMD stemmed from the delivery method, rather than the anti-VEGF drug.
“This research has large implications for patients undergoing injection therapies,” she emphasised.
“The most common side effect patients report is discomfort during and after the injections and bleeding inside the eye. This would be removed by the use of eye drops,” Dr de Cogan explained.
“It would also reduce the more serious complications of the injected therapy – retinal detachment and ocular infections, both of which can lead to blindness,” she added.
Although the research is still in early stages, its successful completion could allow patients to self-medicate and significantly reduce the need for injection appointments freeing up clinic space.
Dr de Cogan noted that the research team was applying for further funding to move the research into a clinical trial.