Can External Drug Delivery System Improve Treatment of Retinal Disease?
August 5, 2009
At the recent symposium on drug delivery to the eye (ARVO, July 30, Bethesda, Maryland), Dr. A. Linn Murphree, M.D., described a novel drug delivery system that is placed outside of the eye, underneath the episclera. This silicone based device will release its drug over a sustained period of weeks to months.
Dr. Murphree described potential applications for this “episcleral drug reservoir” including treatments for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, endophthalmitis and retinoblastoma. By targeting the organ requiring treatment, in this case the eye, complications from systemic exposure to drugs can be avoided. For example, in cases of retinoblastoma, chemotherapeutic agents can be delivered directly to the eye, thereby avoiding some of the dangerous side-effects of immunosuppression common to system chemotherapy.
There are several advantages to such a system; better and targeted delivery of the drug to the eye, better compliance, eliminate systemic toxicity and convenience (fewer trips to the office).
Such therapy will also avoid the potential complications of intraocular injection or surgical administration of drugs, namely risk of vitreous hemorrhge, cataract, endophthalmitis and retinal detachment.
Dr. Murphree is hopeful Phase I and Phase II clinical trials will be forthcoming.
What does this mean? Presently, the indications for intraocular injections continue to increase. There are more diseases to treat and more choices of drugs to use. The timing for the development of a safe, organ specific, sustained drug delivery couldn’t be better!
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
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