Eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, could be treated with gene therapy in a droplet. Traditional treatment for diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration involves injecting the treatment, but the newer research offers another option: administering the treatment topically.
Many eye diseases develop at the back of the eye, which makes administering drugs to that area quite a challenge. Injection is usually required, but many people don’t feel comfortable enough with this form of treatment, so they opt out.
In the search for an alternative option, the researchers developed a gene deli very system with a peptide called penetratin known for its good permeability in the eye. In the rat tests, the treatment was administered in the form of an eye drop, moving quickly from the surface of the eye to the back and remaining in the retina for over eight hours, giving ample time for a model gene expression.
The findings reveal a possible new treatment method for eye diseases such diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
A new platform using near-infrared laser to deliver gene therapy for macular degeneration has been developed. Assistant professor Samarenda Mohanty said, “Most therapies focus on slowing down or halting degeneration but cannot target already-damaged areas of the retina. Our capacity to specifically target these damaged areas cell by cell opens up a new world of possibilities for vision restoration.”
The laser method was found to deliver the gene therapy and target cells individually, something that was not possible with chemical gene therapy.
Alex Weiss, chair of physics at the University of Texas, added, “Dr. Mohanty’s team has applied its expertise in the use of light to develop a new technique for effectively introducing genes into living cells. The research could lead to revolutionary new therapies for the restoration of sight in cases that are currently irreparable, but also has applications for the remediation of pain.”