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Eye drops to treat common sight loss condition
August 5, 2018, 12:36 pm

Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK are one step closer to developing an eye drop that could revolutionize treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the developed world.

The prevalence of AMD is increasing dramatically as the population ages and it is estimated that, by 2020, there will be about 200 million people worldwide with the condition. The condition is currently treated with injections of sight-saving drugs into the eye which must be administered by medical professionals.

Researchers have now developed an eye-drop that performs the function of the injection and delivers similar therapeutic effects in rats. In a second-phase of the study, the scientists investigated the effects of the eye-drop in rabbits and pigs, which have eyes more similar to humans. Using a cell-penetrating peptide, they were able to deliver a therapeutically effective amount of drug directly to the retina of the larger mammalian eye.

The US-based pharmaceutical company Macregen, which bought the pending patents from the university scientists, is now working with the researchers to develop a novel range of therapies for AMD and other eye diseases. Once the studies are completed, clinical trials could start as early as spring 2019.

Cell-penetrating peptides are expected to drive the next-generation treatment for people with AMD. Using eye drops to deliver drugs directly to the back of the eye would allow patients to administer treatment on their own, thereby cutting costs and time for patients, as well as reducing the potential complications that could arise from complicated and uncomfortable monthly intraocular injections.




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