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    Drug-delivery micropump for chronic retina disorders

    This controlled, refillable technology offers a feasible method to treat disease


    Los AngelesThe “first-in-man” implant of a novel ophthalmic drug delivery system (Posterior MicroPump, Replenish Inc.) in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) demonstrates that use of the device “is feasible and warrants further development,” according to Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD.

    The small, refillable ocular drug pump—implanted through minimally invasive surgery—delivers the “appropriate amount of drug needed at determined intervals,” said Dr. Humayun, professor of ophthalmology, USC Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

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    Localizing drug delivery has the advantage of avoiding systemic side effects, which has been a potential concern with current retinal disease treatments. Both suprachoroidal and intravitreal delivery may eliminate this issue altogether.

    The pump provides the capabilities for delivering a programmable microdose direct to the eye. The cannula, inserted through the pars plana, is programmed wirelessly.

    The device was initially designed to solve adherence issues for patients with glaucoma, said Dr. Humayun, adding that noncompliance issues result in almost $300 billion of direct and indirect medical costs yearly in the United States. This version of the device is smaller than the one designed for glaucoma, but it has a larger reservoir volume.

    As a result, the pump is refilled via a 31-gauge needle. The device also has a separate console unit that is used to fill and refill the implant.

    “The pump has been shown to be capable of use for more than 7 years and further longevity tests are ongoing to determine how much longer it can work,” Dr. Humayun said.

    The reservoir can be replenished within 2 minutes in the clinic, he added, thus alleviating some of the pressure of increased patient loads.


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