Delivering 'drop-based' immunotherapeutic therapy to the choroid and retina: a new approach in uveitis and age-related macular degeneration

Research details

  • Type of funding: Project Grant
  • Grant Holder: Professor Alastair Denniston
  • Institute: University of Birmingham
  • Region: West Midlands
  • Start date: October 2018
  • End Date: May 2023
  • Priority: Treatment
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory

Many of the commonest causes of blindness such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) are caused by damage to the structures at the back of the eye, tissues that cannot be reached by standard eye-drops.

Currently, such treatment needs to be delivered either directly into the eyeball (intravitreal injection) or to the whole body (by tablet or injection/infusion). Injections, tablets or infusions all expose the patient to risks that would be avoided if an effective ‘drop’ therapy could be developed.

Researchers aim to develop medicines that could be given in ‘drop’ form rather than through the usual method of eye injection.

The research team will identify new highly targeted anti-inflammatory molecules coupled with a novel drug delivery system to enable the drugs to be delivered in ‘drop’ form to the back of the eye.

A pivotal inflammatory cytokine in the retina has been identified which plays a role in visual loss in AMD by regulating the cells that cause abnormal blood vessels and scar formation. Patients with conditions such as AMD and uveitis would benefit from treatments which are more targeted (greater desired effect for fewer side-effects) and can be delivered in drop form which is preferred by patients.