Hyderabad: Scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have developed a method using nanoparticles to treat keratitis, a major cause of visual impairment.
About 30 per cent of patients with fungal keratitis turn blind as proteases secreted by the pathogen and the host damage the cornea. The CCMB team comprising Mohan Rao and Saad M Ahsan developed a nanoparticle-based drug delivery system that enhances the drug residence time by anchoring to the cornea. The system also regulates inflammation and releases the antifungal drug in a condition-responsive manner. The efficacy of the system has been tested with human corneal epithelial cells and also on rat models.
CCMB’s research has been published in an article titled Condition responsive nanoparticles for managing infection and inflammation in keratitis in Nanoscale, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
According to the researchers, treating keratitis is a challenge because both infection and inflammation need to be addressed to. “An additional challenge is maintaining a therapeutic dose at the corneal surface as blinking and tear film wash away the drugs administered as eye drops. In the method developed Anti-TLR4 antibody not only facilitates binding of nanoparticles to the cornea, enhancing their residence time but also reduces the levels of inflammatory cytokines. Host and fungal proteases degrade the gelatin nanoparticle, an alternate substrate for proteases, thereby reducing corneal damage and releasing the encapsulated drug, ketoconazole. The results show a significantly increased corneal retention, suppressed inflammation and resolution of infection in the infected eyes. We believe this will be an excellent approach to manage keratitis as well as other topical ocular infections,” the scientists said in their paper. Researchers conducted tests on fungus like Aspergillus flavus.