Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine developed a promising delivery system that may one day allow clinicians to deliver therapeutic proteins to the retina. The study was presented earlier this week at the ARVO conference.

Since no efficient method currently exists to deliver proteins across the plasma membrane of photoreceptor or retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in vivo, the researchers used a mouse model to develop an intravitreal injection delivery method that could transport proteins into retina cells. They used Biotinylated AS1411 complexed with Traptavidin as the delivery medium for either GFP proteins or X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis, known as XIAP.

They found that intravitreal injection enabled delivery of the proteins to ganglion cells, photoreceptors and RPE in vivo. While both proteins were delivered successfully, the XIAP protein showed significant inhibition of apoptosis without significant toxicity compared with the GFP proteins.

“This may someday routinely aid in the treatment of various retinal diseases since intravitreal injections are current standard of care,” says Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, of Scranton, PA. “The delivery of platform proteins confers valuable protection in reducing apoptosis to virtually all levels of the retina.”

Talreja D, Cashman S, Dasari B, et al. Development of a platform protein delivery system for retinal cells in vivofollowing intravitreal injection. ARVO 2018. Abstract 1193.