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Published on 30 June 2008

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Microneedles promise ocular drug delivery


A new technique which uses microscopic needles to deliver drugs to the eyes could offer hope to millions of patients suffering from eye diseases that can potentially lead to loss of vision.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in America looked at how microneedles can be used to deliver drugs to the eye through a minimally invasive procedure. The needles do not penetrate as far as traditional needles, meaning they are far less likely to cause damage.

The technique could revolutionise the treatment of common eye conditions.

“The eyes are one of the most sensitive and delicate organs in the human body, and perhaps the most fascinating,” said researcher Samirkumar Patel.

“Although the research is at an early stage it does show that it is possible to use microneedles to effectively deliver drugs to targeted sections of the eye.

“No inflammatory response or other adverse effects were observed in our early tests. This is promising news for those who are suffering from vision threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.”

The research team’s findings were presented to international experts at the Ophthalmic Drug Delivery symposium held at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

Copyright © The Press Association 2008

Georgia Institute of Technology

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