Diabetic retinopathy, along with macular degeneration due to the aging process, are 2 of the leading eye diseases that cause blindness and vision loss worldwide. Gene therapy can now be administered as a treatment for these eye conditions.
This therapy is currently provided in the form of an injection but researchers have recently reported that a new delivery method has been discovered that would not require a needle and could effectively treat the condition topically.
Macular degeneration caused by aging and diabetic retinopathy develop in the back of the eye. A growth factor substance, vascular endothelial, stimulates blood vessel growth. Gene therapy has been used by scientists to inhibit this growth factor but up until now the delivery of the drugs has required an injection to the rear of the eye.
Not too many patients want to experience this kind of treatment and decide to opt out of it. Gang Wei along with his other colleagues worked on finding an approach that would be noninvasive.
A new delivery system for this gene was developed by the researchers using a peptide by the name of penetratin along with a synthetic polymer named poly (amidoamine). The peptide has shown good eye permeability while the polymer has already been used for delivering medicine. This complex was put together in drop form and moves rapidly from the surface of the eye to the inner lining at the back when tested on rats.
The liquid stays inside the retina for more than 8 hours at a time, which is a sufficient amount of time for the gene model to be expressed. According to the findings there is a lot of potential for treating a variety of eye diseases through gene therapy drops.
Research has been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interface.