A team of researchers based at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, in the US, have demonstrated that drugs can be successfully delivered to the eye using microneedles
Injections into the eye are known as intravitreal injections. Injections of this type are difficult and are rarely performed as it is not easy to ensure that the drug reaches its intended location. The normal way of administering drugs is through eye-drops, where there is a risk of infection.
The tiny microneedles, according to a Georgia Tech
press release, are less than 1 millimetre in length and are used to inject drugs into the eye. The success of the trial comes after animal studies which showed that material could be injected with precision, mainly into the rear of the eye so that drug compounds could be transferred into the retina and choroid.
The innovation can potentially improve the treatment of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The research was supported by the National Eye Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and by the organization Research to Prevent Blindness.
One of the researchers, Samirkumar Patel, is quoted by Science Codex
as saying “This research could lead to a simple and safe procedure that offers doctors a better way to target drugs to specific locations in the eye. The design and simplicity of the microneedle device may make it more likely to be used in the clinic as a way to administer drug formulations into the suprachoroidal space that surrounds the eye."
The project was led by Henry Edelhauser, a professor of ophthalmology at Emory School of Medicine and the study was published
in the July edition of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.