Because the eye is protected by ocular barriers but is also easily accessible, direct intravitreous injections of therapeutic proteins allow for specific and targeted treatment of retinal diseases. Low doses of proteins are required in this confined environment and a long time of residency in the vitreous is expected, making the eye the ideal organ for local proteic therapies. Monthly intravitreous injection of Ranibizumab, an anti-VEGF Fab has become the standard of care for patients presenting wet AMD. It has brought the proof of concept that administering proteins into the physiologically low proteic concentration vitreous can be performed safely. Other antibodies, Fab, peptides and growth factors have been shown to exert beneficial effects on animal models when administered within the therapeutic and safe window. To extend the use of such biomolecules in the ophthalmology practice, optimization of treatment regimens and efficacy is required. Basic knowledge remains to be increased on how different proteins/peptides penetrate into the eye and the ocular tissues, distribute in the vitreous, penetrate into the retinal layers and/or cells, are eliminated from the eye or metabolized. This should serve as a basis for designing novel drug delivery systems. The later should be non-or minimally invasive and should allow for a controlled, scalable and sustained release of the therapeutic proteins in the ocular media. This paper reviews the actual knowledge regarding protein delivery for eye diseases and describes novel non-viral gene therapy technologies particularly adapted for this purpose.
Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.