Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) are the leading causes of blindness in the elderly worldwide. Current treatments, while effective, are not ideal in terms of delivery nor monitoring. Standard administration methods for therapeutics include the use of standard 30 gauge needles and syringes.
The team has developed a prototype injector-extractor device (SERID) that safely administers therapeutic injections into the eye to ensure maximum efficacy and improved safety. SERID will be the world’s first custom designed one-off use instrument for the eye environment. At the same as the single injection, the device can obtain a sample of the gel-like vitreous within the eye which could hold important pre-functional protein biomarkers and could further guide and tailor treatment regimens for individual patients. With its needle-within-a-needle design, the shaving action is able to remove a small amount of vitreous safely from the eye, thereby allowing for a small amount of space where therapeutics can be injected. This reduces the intraocular pressure spike, which in turn reduces the amount of drug that is refluxed after the needle is withdrawn, which is a problem in current methods of injection. Overall, SERID enables more accurate drug delivery.
Coupled with a novel minute volume protein analyser that is under co-development by the team and an industry partner, the small sample (<10uL) of vitreous obtained can be analyzed to determine the concentration of pre-functional protein biomarkers. Such information can potentially guide individualized treatment of the patient before vision is compromised. Together, SERID and the analysis platform can help tailor treatments for AMD/DR patients, resulting in a reduction of unnecessary treatments, visits, and added cost savings to patients.
The refinement of the beta prototype which will include finalization of the SERID design, taking into account human and ergonomics considerations and testing on appropriate models.
Principal Investigator: Dr Marcus ANG
Institution: Singapore Eye Research Institute
NHIC Ref: NHIC-I2D-1604104