Diabetic retinopathy delivery device could find other applications

In-PharmaTechnologist follows up on a possible new delivery device for diabetic retinopathy, which FierceDrugDelivery reported on last week. It's a MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) device that could be implanted behind the eye and release docetaxel on command by an external magnet. In-PharmaTechnologist reports that the device, developed by University of British Columbia scientist Mu Chiao, could also be used treat other ocular diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma. It could also find an application in cancer treatment to reduce the effects of chemotherapy.

For treatment of diabetic retinopathy, current laser therapy can result in diminished side and night vision. And current methods of delivering the cancer drug docetaxel--also used for retinopathy--clear from the system so quickly that high doses are needed, increasing toxicity to healthy tissue.

"However, if the drug was delivered systemically to treat the retina, all body tissues would be exposed to the drug with usual chemo-toxicity issues associated with cancer chemotherapy," researcher and co-author John K. Jackson told In-PharmaTechnologist. "There is a clear benefit to delivering the drug in the area of the retina to reduce systemic exposure."

The device would take about five years to hit the market and, Jackson said, they would be looking for partners such as Boston Scientific, Medtronic, J&J or Angiotech--companies with a history of combining drugs with devices.

- read more in in-PharmaTechnologist