Retina disease injection a thing of the past?

September 17, 2007

Intravitreal injections for the treatment of retinal diseases, such as neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), could be replaced by a non-invasive gel formulation, applied under the eyelid, according to a presentation made at this month's meeting of the British Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Manchester, UK.

Intravitreal injections for the treatment of retinal diseases, such as neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), could be replaced by a non-invasive gel formulation, applied under the eyelid, according to a presentation made at this month's meeting of the British Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Manchester, UK.

Yvonne Chen from the University of East Anglia's School of Pharmacy in the UK said, "Available treatment for retinal disease needs to be administered through an injection into the eye, which is highly invasive and can be distressing to patients, as well as potentially causing further complications."

With this in mind, Ms Chen set about finding a better, less invasive method of delivering these drugs. She found the answer in "smart" polymers, administered as a gel formulation, which acts as a drug delivery vehicle for retina treatments. These polymers behave as liquids at room temperature, but rapidly transfer (in less than a minute) to a gel at body temperature, hence, the gel formulation would provide a depot for the drug, allowing it to move slowly towards the retina over the course of several hours. This gel system also prolongs the drug release duration so that controlled drug release can be achieved. It is hoped the less invasive gel will lead to better compliance.

"Experiments have shown that this new gel may well prove to be a breakthrough in treating retinal diseases, with major benefits to patient comfort and healthcare outcomes," enthused Ms Chen.