New Dry Eye Drug Treatment Aims to Treat Cause Rather Than Symptoms

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The drug available in tropical eye drop form targets the cause of dry eye syndrome instead of masking the symptoms.

Researchers from University of Virginia Health System have developed a potential therapeutic treatment for dry eye syndrome. Lacripep aims to eliminate inflammatory symptom triggers by restoring the natural basal tearing mechanism and health of cells in contact with tears. This includes restoration of the nerves on the cornea of the eye, which signal the brain to produce more tears. It also stabilizes the tear film that in dry eye is very unstable.

Dry eye affects around 5-9% of the population with that number increasing to around 35% in older women. The condition can occur due to hormonal imbalances, malfunctioning aqueous tear production or lipid production and general inflammation of the eye. Current treatments avaible for dry eye aims to suppress the pain and damage including steroids to control inflammation, antibiotics, and artificial tears. The root cause of the disease is a shortage of the tear protein lacritin. Lacripep is a short synthetic fragment of lacritin.

According to the UVA dry eye research specialist Gordon Laurie of the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology, each dose of Lacripep remains in tears rather than being washed away. More than 200 patients will be participated in the study. The patients will use two different dosages of Lacripep or placebo three times daily for four weeks.

According to Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment Market Report published by Coherent Market Insights, the most common symptoms associated with DES are ocular irritation, photophobia, blurry vision, mucoid discharge, ocular dryness, itching, and excessive tearing. New drug is expected to treat the dry eye syndrome more effectively than conventional drugs avaible in the market. Safe and effective testing will expand to a much larger Phase III trial. Laurie’s Charlottesville Company, TearSolutions Inc. collaborated with Lexitas Pharma Services in Durham, North Carolina to conduct the clinical trial.

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