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    Innovations fuel sustained drug-delivery methods for AMD

    Biodegradable polymers, reservoir implants, encapsulated cell technology among approaches

    Take-home message: A variety of newer drug delivery approaches may change how patients with age-related macular degeneration are treated.

    Reviewed by Peter K. Kaiser, MD

    Cleveland—Both ophthalmologists who treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and their patients are eager to find new ways of treatment that go beyond the current routine of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections.

    Several newer methods of drug delivery—including biodegradable polymers, reservoir implants, and encapsulated cell technology—are under investigation as future approaches, said Peter K. Kaiser, MD, Chaney Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland.

    The new approaches would need to match the effectiveness of anti-VEGF injections.

    “We know that fixed dosing with anti-VEGFs gives us the best treatment response and the best visual acuity,” said Dr. Kaiser, Chaney Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland.

    “Any deviation from that standard reduces visual acuity outcomes,” he said. “The problem is, doctors don’t want to give that many injections, and patients don’t want to receive them.”

    Biodegradable polymer

    One new approach involves putting the target drug into a polymer matrix via a biodegradable polymer, which slowly releases the drug.

    “In the past, emulsion technology was used to release particles,” Dr. Kaiser said. “The problem with this technology is that the particles are variable in size. This matters because size determines the release characteristics.”

    Modern polymer technology may enable this approach more frequently in the future.

    Liposomes and implants

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