Corneal cystinosis is a rare metabolic disease that causes loss of vision. Researchers at UCI have developed a nanowafer drug delivery system that has demonstrated twice the therapeutic efficacy during in vivo studies in mice.
Corneal cystinosis causes the accumulation of cystine crystals in the cornea, eventually causing blindness. Topical cysteamine (Cys) eye drops need to be applied 6-12 times a day throughout a patients’ life, despite side effects such as eye pain, redness, and ocular inflammation. In addition, the Cys eye drops need to be frozen or refrigerated in order to remain active for a week. The eye drop treatment is tedious by nature, causing low compliance and poorer treatment outcomes.
Researchers have developed a biocompatible polymer wafer which contains Cys in nanopatterned cells. The thin polymer wafer is highly transparent and flexible – similar to a soft contact lens. The patient applies the wafer to the eye with a fingertip once a day, and Cys is slowly released as the wafer dissolves and disappears. Less of the drug is required in the wafer due to increased drug residence time. The long term stability of the Cys is increased, staying active for up to four months at room temperature.
§ Wafer is comparable to a soft contact lens - thin, flexible, and transparent
§ Application is only once a day, compared to the 6-12 for Cys eye drops
§ Dissolving polymer material self clears and disappears over time
§ Cys stability in the nanopatterned cells is 4 months at room temperature compared to one week while refrigerated in eye drops
§ Twice the therapeutic efficacy is achieved using less of the drug
|United States Of America||Published Application||20150190279||07/09/2015||2014-041|
In vivo studies were performed in mice, where wafers demonstrated twice the therapeutic efficacy compared to eye drops while using less of the drug. The inventors plan to move to clinical trials and expand the wafer system to treat other eye diseases.