Pharmaceutical International News - July 2012
Microneedle Eye Drug Delivery Breakthrough
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 27/07/2012 - 09:25:00
Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology-based researchers have produced microneedles less than 1mm long capable of delivering drugs right to the back of the eyes.
Their breakthrough product represents a new eye drug delivery option and one with the potential to be less invasive that current drug injection techniques and more effective than eye drops. Manufactured from stainless steel, these microneedles are envisaged as advantageous in other ways, too. Because they're so small, they're less likely to cause infections and the researchers highlight how, with people living longer these days, an increase in eye degeneration conditions is likely.
Therefore, the advent of a more effective and safer drug delivery system could be extremely significant.
Microneedle Drug Delivery
"This research could lead to a simple and safe procedure that offers doctors a better way to target drugs to specific locations in the eye", Georgia Institute of Technology's Samirkumar Patel explained in a statement on the microneedle drug delivery. "The design and simplicity of the microneedle device may make it more likely to be used in the clinic as a way to administer drug formulations into the suprachoroidal space that surrounds the eye."
The researchers found that, once the fluids they injected had reached their resting place, they stayed there for a maximum of about 60 days.
Eye Drug Delivery
On that basis, the potential's there for slow-release microneedle eye drug delivery techniques to be developed from this initial model which, so far, has only been tested on animals.
"With this technique, we are keeping the drug right where it needs to be for most therapies of interest in the back of the eye", Emory School of Medicine's Professor Henry Edelhauser stated.
"The study showed that if we inject non-degradable particles into the suprachoroidal space and wait as long as two months, the particles remain", added Georgia Tech's Professor Mark Prausnitz. "That means there is no natural mechanism to remove the particles from the eye. Knowing this, we can design biodegradable particles with drugs encapsulated in them that can slowly release those drugs over a period of time that we could control."
Image copyright Gary Meek - Courtesy Georgia Tech
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