​Novel implants for extended release of therapeutic retinal drugs

​Can retinal drugs be programmed to release slowly from these implants?

     Of the five human senses, loss of sight is the most feared.  Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in working adults. The cause of this blindness is due to changes and growth of new abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the retina. These fragile abnormal blood vessels swell and also leak blood into the vitreous of the eye.  Growth of these abnormal blood vessels is due to growth factors within the retina.  Photograph on the left shows abnormal blood vessels growing on the inside surface of the rabbit retina and into the vitreous gel.  With its implant technology, SCLERA has been able to reproduce experimental diabetic retinopathy in the rabbit eye for pre-clinical testing.  Developing novel implant technology will provide better ways to deliver retinal drugs for an extended period of time.  

 ​    In the photograph on the left, two implants have been placed in the mid-vitreous of the rabbit eye.  These initial studies demonstrate the ability of the eye to hold multiple implants containing various potential therapeutic drugs that can release these drugs at various times.

     People with diabetes also are two to five times more likely to develop cataracts, which involves clouding of the lens, and at a much earlier age. Moreover, the rate of glaucoma doubles in those with diabetes.  World-wide the incidence of diabetes is increasing rapidly with at least 8.5% of adults 18 years and older in 2014 versus 4.7% in 1980. Prevalence has been rising more rapidly in the middle and low-income countries.  

    The diagram on the left demonstrates where the implant (light blue oval shape) is placed by the retinal surgeon.  Beneath both the retina and choroid, the implant induces experimental wet AMD in the rabbit retina.  World-wide AMD is the fourth most common cause of blindness and is a leading cause of blindness in older Americans 60 years and older.  A major question to be answered is whether this implant technology can be used clinically to release retinal therapeutics on a long-term basis. 

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SCLERA LLC

SCLERA state-of-the-art patented implant technology

     Currently, SCLERA implants are placed in the rabbit eye to induce retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and wet AMD for pre-clinical testing of potential therapeutic drugs.  Our implant consists of biocompatible polymers and contains human growth factors to produce retinal diseases in the rabbit eye.  Photograph on the left shows a translucent implant placed intraocularly in front of the retina to produce diabetic retinopathy. The retina itself is in the back of the eye so placing drugs near the retina is extremely difficult.  Patients must see the ophthalmologist on a monthly basis for an intraocular injection of retinal drugs.  Development of this implant technology for extended release of drugs will help people see longer without going on a monthly basis to the doctor's office.