Elevated intraocular levels of angiogenic cytokines such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have been implicated the development of diabetic retinopathy. Over a decade of clinical evidence shows intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF agents is associated with decreased disease progression and preservation of vision. However, the treatment burden associated with monthly injections limits the effectiveness of existing anti-VEGF therapies. Current research has focused on sustained treatment paradigms such as longer acting drugs, drug delivery implants, and gene therapy. In this study, we tested a novel approach by dialyzing proteins from the vitreous using bioceramic implant composed of hydroxyapatite. Preliminary in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate a high affinity and capacity for VEGF absorption. After three months implantation in New Zealand White Cross rabbits, the hydroxyapatite demonstrated good biocompatibility with no inflammation and normal retinal physiology and histology. These studies demonstrate that prolonged VEGF suppression intraocularly may be accomplished with a bioceramic implant.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.