Singapore team designs nanotech glaucoma treatment for sustained release

The eye can prove a tricky place to deliver drugs, and sustained treatments for glaucoma in particular could cut down on the constant eye drops traditionally required to fight the disease, which can cause blindness. And researchers in Singapore have developed a nanotech solution that could provide months of treatment in a single application.

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly caused by pressure in the eye is often treated with daily eye drops to lower that pressure. In a pilot study in 6 patients, researchers at Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Eye Research Institute have developed what they call liposomal latanoprost, which encapsulates the already-approved glaucoma drug and delivers it to the eye over an extended period of time. The treatment is injected into the eye.

For elderly patients, the daily regimen of eye drops can be difficult to adhere to, and the sustained treatment helps offset any of those patient-driven dosing issues, according to a report from the university.

Tina Wong

"Many patients find it difficult to adhere to their doctor's prescribed regime for many reasons, such as forgetfulness, finding it too troublesome, or they lack understanding of the disease," lead author Tina Wong said in a statement. "The results in this clinical study will open up a new treatment modality for glaucoma other than taking daily eye drops, and will greatly enhance patient compliance and improve treatment outcomes."

And for Singapore, the success of the study marks an early entry in what the nation hopes is an emerging nanomedicine research area. The scientists aim to begin larger-scale trials and are currently commercializing liposomal latanoprost through a spin-off company.

- here's the Nanyang Technological University report