Eye drop could revolutionise treatment for AMD patients

Female scientist in the lab

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a type of eye drop which could potentially revolutionise the treatment for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The results of the collaborative research, published today in Investigative Opthamology and Visual Science, could spell the end of injections into the eye for patients with wet AMD. 

Scientists led by biochemist Dr Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, have invented a method of delivering the injected anti-VEGF drug as an eye drop instead, and their laboratory research has obtained the same outcomes.

The drop uses a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) to deliver the drug to the relevant part of the eye within minutes.

Dr de Cogan said: “The CPP-drug has the potential to have a significant impact on the treatment of AMD by revolutionising drug-delivery options.

“Efficacious self-administered drug application by eye drop would lead to a significant reduction in adverse outcomes and health care costs compared with current treatments.

“The CPP-plus drug complex also has potential application to other chronic ocular diseases that require drug delivery to the posterior chamber of the eye.

“We believe this is going to be very important in terms of empowering of patients and reducing the cost of treatment to the NHS.”

The eye drops are yet to be trialled in humans. 

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: "This is very interesting research and if it can be shown to work as well in humans it will be a great breakthrough in the treatment of macular degeneration. Treatment for AMD is expensive and very difficult for patients and the NHS so an eye drop would be very welcome progress."