GCU and TopiVert work on treatments to alleviate dry eye syndrome

16 June 2014

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working with pharmaceutical firm TopiVert to research treatments for the alleviation of dry eye syndrome, one of the most common ophthalmological disorders with unmet medical need.

TopiVert has asked GCU Vision Sciences experts Dr Suzanne Hagan and Dr Katherine Oliver to work on a pilot study supporting the development of anti-inflammatory treatments for the ocular surface.

Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, leading to eyes drying out and becoming inflamed and irritated.

Previously dry eye occurred most commonly in older people (over-50s), however an increase in the numbers of people undergoing laser surgery and in use of contact lenses (both of which can affect the tear film), has led to this condition becoming more prevalent among young people.  

Drs Hagan and Oliver will investigate the effects of Narrow Spectrum Kinase Inhibitors (NSKIs) - small molecules that target inflammatory pathways - on expression of potential therapeutic targets, in dry eye disease.

Ultimately, the aim is to then investigate their effects on people with dry eye syndrome and healthy eyes.

The work will utilise a cultured cell line for profiling methods and complete a pilot study with volunteers with dry eye and normal eyes, using impression cytology to harvest cells from the ocular surface noninvasively for analysis.

Founded in 2011, TopiVert is a spin-out of the London-based drug discovery company RespiVert, following its acquisition by Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. (now Janssen Biotech Inc.).

Based at the Imperial College Bioincubator, TopiVert is developing novel small NSKIs for use in gastrointestinal and ocular inflammatory diseases.