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Cardiff University team has promising drug treatments for eye diseases in sight

25 February 2019


It may be a surprise to hear that in 2019 we still rely heavily on eyedrops as a means of administering drug doses into the eye. This is an age-old technique with undoubted benefits, however up to 95% of a drug dose applied via eyedrops is removed by a combination of blinking and naso-lachrymal drainage. Consequences are that patients/clinicians need to keep re-applying the drops while the majority of the applied doses will end up unwanted in the systemic circulation.

A cross-School Cardiff University collaboration, involving the School's of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Optometry and Vision Sciences and Healthcare Sciences has secured significant funding from the BBSRC to develop a range of new, advanced products aimed at providing improved targeting and therapeutic outcomes across a range of ocular diseases.

In preceding work funded by the BBSRC, Dr Charles Heard and Prof Andrew Quantock demonstrated that significantly enhanced ocular drug delivery can be achieved using a number of advanced drug delivery platforms including thin films, contact lenses and microneedle arrays.  With the addition of Prof David Whitaker to the team, £511K has just been secured from the BBSRC SUPER Follow on Fund.  The award aims to translate laboratory findings to commercially available products and will involve working closely with Cardiff University’s Technology Transfer Officer, Rhian North and commercial partner Thèa Pharmaceuticals.

Work will initially focus on new products to treat infections of the cornea – keratitis – which presents significant drug delivery challenges for the scientist and morbid prognoses for the patient in cases such as fungal and Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Dr Heard and Prof Quantock are members of Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) and began their successful collaboration following a discussion at a recent CITER Annual Scientific Meeting.

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