Dry eye disease is a major public health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is presently treated with artificial tear and anti-inflammatory eye drops that are generally administered several times a day and may have limited therapeutic efficacy. To improve convenience and efficacy, a dexamethasone (Dex) loaded nanowafer (Dex-NW) has been developed that can release the drug on the ocular surface for a longer duration of time than drops, during which it slowly dissolves. The Dex-NW was fabricated using carboxymethyl cellulose polymer and contains arrays of 500 nm square drug reservoirs filled with Dex. The in vivo efficacy of the Dex-NW was evaluated using an experimental mouse dry eye model. These studies demonstrated that once a day Dex-NW treatment on alternate days during a five-day treatment period was able to restore a healthy ocular surface and corneal barrier function with comparable efficacy to twice a day topically applied dexamethasone eye drop treatment. The Dex-NW was also very effective in down regulating expression of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, and IFN-γ), chemokines (CXCL-10 and CCL-5), and MMP-3, that are stimulated by dry eye. Despite less frequent dosing, the Dex-NW has comparable therapeutic efficacy to topically applied Dex eye drops in experimental mouse dry eye model, and these results provide a strong rationale for translation to human clinical trials for dry eye.
Keywords: Cornea; Dexamethasone; Drug delivery; Dry eye; Inflammation; Nanowafer.
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