MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Heather Sheardown PhD PEng FCAE
Scientific Director 20/20 NSERC Ophthalmic Materials Network
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Putting drops in the eye is well accepted from the standpoint of practitioners but is problematic for many patients. Therefore, particularly in cases where multiple drops are required in a day such as is the case with certain infections for example or a lifetime of drops is required such as is the case with diseases like glaucoma, patient compliance is a real issue. In addition, as much as 95% of any drop instilled in the eye is lost within the first 5 minutes, meaning that drug concentrations within the drop need to be higher to ensure that the required dose gets into the patient’s eye.
Therefore there is a real need for a better alternative to traditional eyedrops is needed. We have developed a new method of formulating drugs for delivery as drops that adhere to the mucous layer of the tear film, allowing for smaller amounts of drug to be delivered over a prolonged period of time. This means that fewer drops with lower drug concentrations can be delivered. This is a micelle based system that allows for the formulation of more hydrophobic drugs. A mucoadhesive component associated with the micelle binds to the mucin layer of the tears, meaning that the residence time on the eye is similar to that of this layer – between 4 and 7 days. Drug is slowly released from the micelle, allowing for prolonged treatment.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: While eyedrops are an effective and generally well accepted method of getting drugs to the eye, particularly the front of the eye, the short residence time limits the efficacy. By taking advantage of this modality and optimizing based on known and well understood tear biology, better delivery is possible.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future work will focus on disease specific applications for these micelles. We have chosen to focus on dry eye disease as the first disease target because the current treatment, cyclosporine drops, require frequent instillation and are quite uncomfortable. We believe that with a better formulation method, more efficacious and less painful drop instillation is possible for treating this widespread and poorly managed condition.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: If there are other medications that other researchers are interested in examining or other mucoadhesive applications for treatment, we would be interested in partnering and examining these.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Graeme Prosperi-Porta, Stephanie Kedzior, Benjamin Muirhead, Heather Sheardown. Phenylboronic-Acid-Based Polymeric Micelles for Mucoadhesive Anterior Segment Ocular Drug Delivery. Biomacromolecules, 2016; 17 (4): 1449 DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b00054
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