Dry eye disease (DED), a condition of tear insufficiency and ocular damage, afflicts ~300 million people worldwide, impairs quality of life and is an enormous socioeconomic burden (>USD$55 billion annually).
Severe DED is associated with Sjogren’s syndrome (SS), rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. SS is characterized by destruction of tear and saliva-producing glands and cannot be cured, therefore tear replacement and anti-inflammatory drugs are the main therapies. However, corticosteroids are broadly immunosuppressive, leading to serious adverse effects, whilst cyclosporine is not as effective. Drugs that suppress disease-causing immune subsets without compromising protective immune responses will have significant advantages over current drugs and competing products in development.
This team will develop a novel triple-action therapy for DED: selectively suppressing the effector memory T cell-mediated autoimmune responses by Kv1.3-blockade without impacting other T cell subsets; repair the compromised ocular lipid layer by replenishing lipids; and stabilize the tear film with cross-linked hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels. This formulation will be evaluated for efficacy in a rat model of SS dry eye, and the non-GLP ocular safety will be assessed.
Principal Investigator: Professor George CHANDY
Institution: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
NHIC Ref: NHIC-I2D-1409007