A new eye drop based on aggregated human antibodies was developed by a group of researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago. These eye drops have already shown a reduction in symptoms and signs in some patients with dry eyes in response to treatment.
Eye drops target protein autoantibodies against anti-citrullinated proteins or ACPA, specific antibodies found in human tear fluid.
Dry eyes are a disease that sees an abnormality in the amount of tear fluid in the eye, leading to drier eye regions. This, in turn, can be a problem as it leads to eye pain and poor sensitivity to light. The dry eye, as Sandeep Jain, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and senior author of the study, explains, can also seriously affect the quality of daily life and vision.
It was Jain and his colleagues who discovered that DNA strands can form “cobwebs” on the surface of eyes with dry eyes, and they discovered ACPA as a major cause of inflammation. The eye drops they developed then interrupt this cycle, at least partially, and weaken the immune system.
The new eye drops were tested on 27 participants in two groups: The participants of the first group received one drop of eye drops with antibodies aggregated twice daily for eight weeks. The second group was the control group and their participants received eye drops without the antibodies. People in the first group showed a significant reduction in corneal inflammation and a general improvement in the dry eye situation compared to the control group.
The eye drops contained aggregated antibodies from blood-based immunoglobulins donated by several individuals. In this way, it is possible to counteract the negative effects of ACPA. As Jain explains, there are currently only two drugs available to treat dry eyes, but both do not work well in the most severe cases.
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