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Reducing the treatment burden of ocular diseases

24 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor llva Rupenthal
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
Blinding diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, are currently treated by frequent injections of drug-containing solution into the eye ball, an unpleasant procedure that can lead to serious side effects, but above all, requires frequent specialist visits with the demand currently exceeding supply. This project aims to reduce the treatment burden of ocular disease by developing efficient carriers for novel gene therapeutics and designing an injectable implant that allows slow drug release over time, but may also liberate top-up doses by non-invasive laser light activation through the cornea. While optimized gene carriers will protect nucleotide drugs from degradation and improve tissue penetration and cellular uptake, the biodegradable injectable implant will deliver the drug over 6-12 months. This will minimize the injection frequency and the need for specialist visits, decreasing the overall treatment costs, while significantly improving treatment efficacy and thus the quality of life of those affected by blinding diseases.