Anti-VEGF Meds Delivered via Eye Drops

Anti-VEGF Meds Delivered via Eye Drops

Posted under Eye Health, Low Vision Info

Although intravitreal eye injections using anti-VEGF medications like Lucentis, Avastin and Eylea have greatly improved the treatment of wet macular degeneration by inhibiting the growth of new, leaky blood vessels, the injections are not without risks, discomfort, cost and inconvenience.  Those who receive the injections may experience eye redness, pain, and sometimes infection.   Regular visits to the retina specialist may require travel to another city or state and asking a family member or friend to do the driving. But what if a patient could receive the same medications and experience the same benefits without having to go to the eye doctor’s office or getting an injection into the eye?

Very early research is exploring the possibility of using eye drops to deliver anti-VEGF medications in a way that allows the medication to get to the back of the eye and produces the same benefits as an intraocular injection of Lucentis and Avastin.  Researchers from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom have shared their initial results in the publication Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides.

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2017, Vol.58, 2578-2590. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-20072

“Now scientists led by [co-author] Dr. Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Aging, have invented a method of delivering the injected drug as an eye drop instead, and their laboratory research has obtained the same outcomes as the injected drug.”

Delivery of the drug to the back of the eye via eye drops has proven to be a challenge in the past.  However, now with the use of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) the study in mice, rats and pig eyes showed that the CPPs were able to deliver therapeutic amounts of the anti-VEGF drug to the posterior chamber of the eyes.  “Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are peptides that are able to cross, or penetrate, cell membranes and gain access to the interior of almost any cell. Because of this characteristic, CPPs are considered promising candidates for the transport of drugs or other therapeutic substances to the interior of cells, including the cells in the eye and retina” explains Maureen Duffy  the author of New Research: A Potential Eye Drop Treatment Could Take the Place of Injectable Drugs for Wet Macular Degeneration.

The study discovered that the drug cleared from the area within 24 hours which means that eye drops would need to be administered daily.   This research represents a new development that could greatly impact the way wet macular degeneration is currently being treated and offer an easier and more comfortable delivery method.

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN