An eye patch covered with small needles sounds like a torture tool straight from one of the Saw films. In fact, it is the invention of researchers in Singapore who were looking for a better way to treat eye diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Currently, these diseases are usually treated with eye drops. Eye drops, however, are not always sufficient to deliver sufficient amounts of medication. They are also not particularly suitable for delivering drug doses over a longer period. That is where the somewhat winding new treatment comes into play. It concerns an eye patch strewn with small soluble needles. The patch is placed on the patient's eye and then removed and leaves the micro needles in the cornea. The microneedles consist of two layers: an outer layer that delivers an initial drug dose and an inner layer that delivers a secondary drug dose over the course of several days.
"This work provides a new strategy for efficient drug delivery," Chen Peng, a professor at the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, told Digital Trends. "By simply pressing the eyepatch onto the eye, the removable small needles can penetrate the ocular surface tissue and act as implanted micro-drug reservoirs.The kinetic of biphasic drug delivery, made possible by the double-layered micro-reservoirs, largely improves therapeutic efficacy. "
So far, the needle-studded eye patch has been tested on mice, where it showed considerably more efficiency than normal eye drops. "Use of corneal neovascularization as the disease model in mice, delivery of an anti-angiogenic monoclonal antibody by [the] eye patch can reduce 90 percent of the neovascular area, which is much better than the efficacy of drugs with eye drops,[thatisabout15%"continuedPeng[whichisaround15percent"Pengcontinued[datisongeveer15procent”vervolgdePeng[whichisaround15percent”Pengcontinued
The researchers are currently optimizing the eye patch, mainly focused on the composition and stiffness of the micro needles. This will allow a better practical use. They are also looking for clinical staff for a medical trial, with the ultimate goal of commercializing the technology.
A paper describing the work: "Self-implantable double-layered micro-drug reservoirs for efficient and controlled administration of ocular drugs" was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.