A research team at British Columbia University have successfully developed a hydrogel that is capable of providing the eye with needed medications and may be a viable treatment for both glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Delivering drugs to the eye has been problematic with eye health as drops tend to have to run off to achieve maximum benefits and many times, the small amount of medication that reaches the eye from drops does not make its way to the back of the eye where the most benefits will be seen.
Modern medicine is accepting of the fact that cannabinoids provide beneficial effects but as of yet no efficient method to deliver these compounds in a direct manner to the eye has been found. These compounds are not very water soluble which disqualifies eye drops as an option.
The pharmaceutical company InMed set out to provide a system of delivering cannabinoids to the eye known as cannabigerolic acid. The company put its faith in Vikramaditya Yadav, a Ph.D. and assistant professor at British Columbia University, and the team of chemical engineers and biologists he assembled to help with the development of the product.
The team was able to utilize products already determined to be safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration to develop the hydrogel. They then took the step to infuse particles of CBGA nanoparticles into the hydrogel. The roll-off that is experienced with eye drops are not seen with the hydrogel developed by Yadav and his team as the nanoparticles are specially formulated to adapt to temperature and form a coat on the cornea.
To date, the formula has only been tested on the cornea of pigs and Yadav admits that he and his team are presently quite a ways from the drug being made available to patients commercially. His immediate hopes are that working with other clinicians, he and his team can one day realize their vision of the hydrogel being used a delivery method or medications that address a variety of issues concerning the health of the human eye.