Drug Research
Drug Delivery

Johns Hopkins' biomedical engineers to create therapeutic eye injections

PBR Staff Writer Published 22 August 2013

Biomedical engineers from The Johns Hopkins University have partnered with clinicians to create new therapeutic eye injections for a type of central vision loss caused by blood vessel growth at the back of the eye.

The new drug, with a biodegradable time-release coating is currently being tested to evaluate effectiveness in stopping such growth in mice.

The drug if found effective in humans, could allow people with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, or "wet" AMD to accept treatment of two or three injections annually against monthly injections standard of care, according to the engineers.

George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Ophthalmology & Neuroscience professor Dr Peter Campochiaro said, "The frequent visits for injections are a burden and each injection carries a small risk of infection, so one of our goals is to find new approaches that allow for fewer visits and injections."

The Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering and ophthalmology assistant professor Dr Jordan Green said, "We hope that our system will work in people, and make invasive treatments much less frequent, and therefore easier to comply with, and safer."

Green's laboratory, which specializes in designing new drug-delivery systems, worked with Campochiaro and Dr Aleksander Popel, professor of biomedical engineering to discover the new drug.

During trials in mice, the drug, a short piece of protein that blocks the growth of unwanted blood vessels, persisted in their eyes for at least 14 weeks, more than three times as long as the current treatment.

The work is supported by grants from the National Eye Institute, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the Edward N. & Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation.