A customised treatment for retinal disease

Researchers are testing a hydrogel-based therapy for macular disease that could reduce the frequency of injections for AMD

A hypodermic needle rests on a white surface alongside several tablets and capsules as well as glass vials of clear liquid
Pixabay/Arek Socha

Scientists are testing a pioneering treatment for macular disease that could one day reduce the frequency of injections for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology and Seoul National University researchers described the development of a hydrogel that incorporates anti-inflammatory drugs in npj Regenerative Medicine.

When the drug-loaded hydrogel was injected into the eyes of mice with retinal degeneration, inflammation in the retina decreased.

The hydrogel degrades, releasing anti-inflammatory drugs, when it encounters the enzyme, cathepsin – which is typically released in inflammatory environments.

Because the hydrogel degrades at different rates depending on the level of inflammation, there is potential for a customised treatment approach.

Dr Maesoon Im, of Korea Institute of Science and Technology, shared: “For future commercialisation, we plan to digitise the amount of drug and hydrogel used, as well as the treatment period, according to the progression of the disease. We also intend to assess the long-term stability of the drug delivery system.”