A new nanomedicine developed by Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and Nanyang Technological University's (NTU's) School of Materials Science and Engineering brings drug therapy that can give months of relief to glaucoma sufferers with just a single application.  This is in contrast with today's existing eye drops that need to be used daily.

In Singapore, approximately three per cent of people 50 years and above have Glaucoma. The condition, caused by high pressure in the eye, can lead to blindness; and it is estimated that at least ten per cent of blindness from glaucoma is directly caused by patients not adhering to their prescribed medications. This can be due to forgetfulness, finding it too troublesome or lack of understanding.  

Liposomal latanoprost, the new therapy, uses a painless injection to deliver millions of nano-sized capsules (liposomal drug-delivery system) that contains Latanoprost, an anti-glaucoma drug, to the eye. These capsules will then release the drug slowly over the next few months. 

Associate Professor Tina Wong, co-lead of the study and Head of the Ocular Therapeutics and Drug Delivery Research Group at SERI, said, "The results in this clinical study will open up a new treatment modality for glaucoma other than taking daily eye drops, and will greatly enhance patient compliance and improve treatment outcomes.”

Professor Subbu Venkatraman, Chair of NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering and Prof Wong’s research partner, said, “This is the first nanocarrier-drug combination that shows therapeutic effects for three to four months with a single dose."

The therapy has gone through a pilot study at SNEC with positive results. It is now being commercialised through a spin-off company. Larger scale clinical trials are also currently being planned to pave the way for release to the market.