Singapore's new eye delivery research center steps closer to clinical trials

If glaucoma is left untreated, it can lead to blindness.--Courtesy of NIH

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has opened a new research center, the Ocular Therapeutic Engineering Center, which will focus on drug delivery to the eye. The center aims to strengthen collaborations between medics and technologists to speed up the move of therapeutics from bench to bedside, including for eye diseases with currently unmet needs, such as glaucoma.

Glaucoma is generally controlled with eyedrops, which are fiddly to administer (especially for elderly people, the biggest group of glaucoma patients) and easy to forget. However, if glaucoma is left untreated, it can lead to blindness, but the center's researchers are moving LipoLat, a new solution to the problem, toward the clinic.

LipoLat, a controlled-release glaucoma therapeutic, is a suspension of nanocapsules each trapping a payload of drug. Designed as an injection into the conjunctiva (the outer layer of the eye), LipoLat gradually released the drug and was as effective as eye drops for as long as three months in preclinical trials. According to the researchers, this is now ready to move into human studies.

Other projects in development include an implantable device that can monitor the pressure changes within the eye constantly and in real time, and a nanoparticle delivery system that can deliver drugs to the back of the eye for diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. This could cut the need for invasive and unpleasant injections of drugs into the eye.

- read the press release