Breakthrough gene therapy technology shows success in the treatment of glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness
Selkirk, Scotland, 27 November 2018 – A major new study, published in Molecular Therapy in December 2018, has demonstrated that NanoGenics’ LipTide-ECP105 significantly improves the outcomes of glaucoma surgery. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, affecting over 60 million people worldwide. Glaucoma surgery fails up to 50% of the time; LipTide-ECP105 will provide a much-needed, more targeted and less toxic option to improve the outcomes from surgery.
NanoGenics is a Scottish biotechnology company that is leading the way in delivering gene therapy using the peptide nanoparticle, LipTide™. Dr Alan Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Nanogenics, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to demonstrate the benefits of this approach. It will offer real hope to those millions of patients undergoing surgery for their glaucoma, giving them and their doctors more confidence that the surgery will be more successful. This is a tremendous validation of our technology and we are now seeking a partner to take our other major products into further development.”
Glaucoma is caused by a rise in the internal pressure in the eye. While this condition is often well-controlled with medications such as eye drops, when these fail, surgery is required. The surgical procedure, known as trabeculectomy, involves putting a tiny hole known as a ‘bleb’ in the base of the eye. It is important that the bleb is kept open in order for the surgery to succeed. Unfortunately, the body’s own healing mechanisms often try to close the bleb; this causes the surgery to fail up to 50% of the time. Cytotoxic agents are currently used to prevent the bleb from healing, but these drugs have a poor safety profile. The new publication shows that when used in vivo, in animal models, after surgery, LipTide-ECP105 produces the same effect as the cytotoxic agents, but with significantly decreased scarring and no adverse side effects.
LipTide, an artificial virus, acts as a custom-built delivery system that can be modified to target different cell types and deliver different payloads, making the promise of gene therapy one step closer to reality. LipTide is a peptide based nanoparticle, which mimics natural viruses, but by-passes the many problems of viral delivery. The ability to regularly dose gene therapy payloads with LipTide could revolutionise the approach to gene therapy
Dr Simon Newman, Chief Scientific Officer, NanoGenics, said: “We are pleased to see these results in this important therapeutic area. It is very rewarding to be involved in the cutting edge of medical science.”