Nav: Home

Antibody-based eye drops show promise for treating dry eye disease

October 11, 2019

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are the first to identify the presence of a specific type of antibody, called anti-citrullinated protein autoantibodies, or ACPAs, in human tear fluid. They are also the first to demonstrate that patients with dry eye disease experienced reduced signs and symptoms of the condition in response to a new eye drop treatment --- made from pooled human antibodies -- that targets ACPAs.

The findings from their early stage clinical trial are reported in the journal The Ocular Surface.

Dry eye disease is caused by abnormalities in the tear fluid and results in dry areas over the cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eye, which can lead to disabling eye pain and sensitivity to light in severe cases.

"The burden of autoimmune dry eye is much greater than just having an occasional feeling of dryness," said Dr. Sandeep Jain, senior author of the study and UIC professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the College of Medicine. "It can severely compromise quality of life to the point of disability and can compromise a person's vision."

In previous research, Jain and his colleagues discovered that strands of DNA extrude from neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, to form webs on the surface of eyes affected by severe dry eye disease and cause inflammation.

In the new study, the researchers identified ACPAs as another cause of eye inflammation that also contributes to the development of these webs, which Jain calls "a vicious cycle of inflammation."

The new eye drops treat dry eye disease by knocking the immune system out of this cycle, at least partially.

The drops are formulated using pooled antibodies -- which are made from immune globulins processed from the donated blood of thousands of individuals, all containing varied types of antibodies -- that counteract the negative effects of ACPAs.

The phase I/II drug trial compared the antibody-based eye drops with eye drops without the antibodies.

"There are currently only two approved drugs to treat dry eye, and they don't work for everyone, especially those with severe disease, so having a new drug that can treat the disease by targeting a different mechanism, in this case, an autoimmunity, is very important," Jain said.

Twenty-seven participants with severe dry eye disease participated in the trial. The participants were randomized into two groups. One group was given eye drops made from pooled antibodies and instructed to administer one drop to each eye twice daily for eight weeks. The control group was given the same instructions with eye drops made without antibodies.

The researchers evaluated patients' symptoms through questionnaires and measured the extent of corneal damage and the amount of pro-inflammatory biomarkers on the surface of the eye before and for the duration of the study.

They found that people using antibody-based eye drops had a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in corneal damage at eight weeks compared with the control group. Questionnaire scores related to symptoms also reflected significant improvement among patients using the new antibody-based eye drops when compared with the eye drops without antibodies. In the test group, the amount of pro-inflammatory biomarkers -- or dry areas -- also was reduced on the surface of the eye.

"Participants in the trial who used the drops with pooled antibodies reported less eye discomfort and their corneas were healthier," Jain said. "The data from this early clinical trial suggests that eye drops containing pooled antibodies may be safe and effective for treating dry eye disease, and we look forward to conducting larger randomized trials to definitively prove its efficacy."
-end-
Co-authors of the study are Jieun Kwon, Bayasgalan Surenkhuu, Ilangovan Raju, Nour Atassi, Jessica Mun, Yi-Fan Chen, Monazzah Akbar Sarwar, Mark Rosenblatt, Anubhav Pradeep, Seungwon An, Nikhil Dhal and Christine Mun from UIC.

This research was supported by the National Eye Institute (R01EY024966, P30EY001792) and research awards from Research to Prevent Blindness and UIC. Jain is the inventor on a patent assigned to UIC that covers the use of immune globulin eye drops in dry eye disease.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Antibodies Articles:

Antibodies could provide new treatment for OCD
Mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder could be treated in a new way using drugs that target the immune system, research suggests.
Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions.
Fatal overproduction of antibodies
Bone marrow plasma cells produce antibodies. These comprise two long and two short protein chains.
Antibodies: the body's own antidepressants
Antibodies can be a blessing or a curse to the brain -- it all depends on their concentration.
Antibodies gather and form a circle for defensive attack
Antibodies play a crucial role in our immune system by linking antigen recognition with complement activation for attacking foreign cells.
Hiring antibodies as nanotechnology builders
Researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata recruit antibodies as molecular builders to assemble nanoscale structures made of synthetic DNA.
Search for the source of antibodies would help treat allergies
Researchers of Sechenov University together with their colleagues from Russia and Austria summarised everything known about cells producing group E antibodies.
Improving research with more effective antibodies
A new study points to the need for better antibody validation, and outlines a process that other labs can use to make sure the antibodies they work with function properly.
How to enable light to switch on and off therapeutic antibodies
IBS researchers have developed a new biological tool that activates antibody fragments via a blue light.
Ebola antibodies at work
Scientists in Israel and Germany show, on the molecular level, how an experimental vaccine offers long-term protection against the disease.
More Antibodies News and Antibodies Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.