Washington: In what could be a significant step toward improving the management of glaucoma, researchers have created a drug delivery system that may have less severe side effects than traditional glaucoma medication and improve patients' ability to comply with their prescribed treatments.
The scientists bound together glaucoma-fighting drugs with nanodiamonds and embedded them onto contact lenses. The drugs are released into the eye when they interact with the patient's tears.
The new technology by the researchers from UCLA School of Dentistry showed great promise for sustained glaucoma treatment and, as a side benefit, the nanodiamond-drug compound even improved the contact lenses' durability.
The study was led by Dr. Dean Ho , professor of oral biology and medicine and co-director of the Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Nanodiamonds, which are byproducts of conventional mining and refining processes, are approximately five nanometers in diameter and are shaped like tiny soccer balls. They can be used to bind a wide spectrum of drug compounds and enable drugs to be released into the body over a long period of time.
To deliver a steady release of medication into the eye, the UCLA researchers combined nanodiamonds with timolol maleate, which is commonly used in eye drops to manage glaucoma.
When applied to the nanodiamond-embedded lenses, timolol is released when it comes into contact with lysozyme, an enzyme that is abundant in tears.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal ACS Nano.