18 April 2018

Cannabinoids against glaucoma

Canadian researchers from the University of the Province of British Columbia, working under the guidance of Professor Vikramaditya Yadav, have developed eye drops for the treatment of glaucoma during a night's sleep.

Glaucoma, a disease in which increased intraocular pressure gradually leads to the death of retinal cells and atrophy of the optic nerve, is one of the main causes of blindness worldwide. Traditionally, eye drops are used to treat glaucoma, but the active substances contained in them are often poorly absorbed by the eye. Less than 5% of the drug remains on the surface of the eye, since most of the liquid simply rolls off it. Even if the drug is absorbed, it may not reach the back wall of the eye and not start the regeneration process of damaged neurons and weaken intraocular pressure.

To solve these problems, the authors propose to use a hydrogel developed by them, in which thousands of nanoparticles containing cannabigerolic acid (cannabigerolic acid) are distributed – a compound included in marijuana (cannabis) that has demonstrated the ability to alleviate the symptoms of glaucoma.

The authors applied hydrogel drops to the surface of pig corneas, the structure of which is similar to the structure of human cornea. The results of the subsequent analysis demonstrated the ability of the drug to be rapidly absorbed by the tissues of the eye and reach its posterior wall.

Earlier studies have established the effectiveness of cannabinoids, including cannabigerolic acid, in eliminating the symptoms of glaucoma. However, the development of droplets based on these compounds is hampered by their poor solubility in water.

The drug delivery system developed by the authors simultaneously solves the two described problems. When applied to the surface of the cornea of the eye before going to bed, a hydrogel made of hyaluronic acid and methylcellulose will harden, forming a thin lens. The subsequent slow release of nanoparticles loaded with cannabigerolic acid from polyethylene oxide and polylactic acid will enable their penetration into the deep tissues of the eye (4 times more than existing drugs). By morning, such a lens will completely dissolve.


Currently, the authors are working on methods that will allow the production of hydrogel on an industrial scale, and are also developing methods for the synthesis of new cannabinoids effective against glaucoma using genetically modified microorganisms.

Article by Maryam Kabiri et al. A stimulus-responsive, in situ-forming, nanoparticle-laden hydrogel for ocular drug delivery is published in the journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research.

Evgenia Ryabtseva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the University of British Columbia: New glaucoma treatment could ease symptoms while you sleep.

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