Authors: D.W. Pitt, A. Treharne, M.C. Grossel
Affilation: University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Pages: 285 - 288
Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, poly (L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid), poly (methyl methacrylate-co-poly (ethylene glycol) methacrylate)
There are many types of retinal disease which vary widely, with some being easier to treat than others. One such example is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) which is the largest cause of blindness for those over 65 in the western world. One aspect of this problem is degradation of the Bruch’s membrane which is a collagenous zone of fibres below the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) layer. We are developing an artificial Bruch’s membrane based on using poly(methyl methacrylate-co-poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate) (PMMA-co-PEGM). Copolymers of MMA with PEGM have been synthesised and further functionalised with succinimidyl groups. These were then used to prepare a fibrous matrix using an electrospinning technique. Scanning electron microscopy was used to confirm the size and morphology of these fibres. Another area of investigation is to transplant retinal stem cells into the eye using a biodegradable polymer framework. Various blends of the biodegradable polymers, poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) have been prepared into microspheres. A human retinal pigment epithelial (APRE-19) cell line was shown to adhere, survive and proliferate on both surfaces in vitro. The use of Avastin® (an off label drug used to treat AMD) captured microspheres for drug delivery has also been investigated.