Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Roski Eye Institute developed a micropump that can be implanted directly into the eye and deliver a predetermined dose of the diabetic macular edema drug ranibizumab.
Current treatments for glaucoma are traditionally delivered using eye drops. But studies show that some patients stop taking their prescription glaucoma eye drops after 1 year, according to the team of researchers. Patients can be uncomfortable using the eye drops or they forget to consistently take their prescribed medication.
To address the treatment’s noncompliance issue, the researchers developed a micropump that includes a reservoir for medication. Dosage and frequency can be controlled using a wirelessly-connected device, according to the team.
The scientists evaluated their micropump in 11 patients with diabetic macular edema and visual acuity of 20/40 eyesight or worse. Following implantation, the device was programmed to deliver a predetermined dose of ranibizumab.
The study participants received ophthalmic exams as well as optical coherence tomography every 2 weeks for 90 days.
The team reported that they conducted 7 successful trials and 4 unsuccessful trials. In successful trials, the micropump delivered the medication dose within 20% of the target amount and participants saw improved visual acuity and retinal thickness. But in the other 4 trials, dose delivery was too slow or inhibited due to a damaged device.
There were no serious adverse effects and all of the participants healed normally, according to the researchers. The team reported that no one complained that they could feel the pump in their eye.
The pump is being commercially developed by Replenish Inc.