Taking eye drops multiple times a day can be difficult for patients to comply with; diseases like glaucoma may require up to eight drops daily. Moreover, because of blinking and tearing, as little as 1 to 7 percent of the dose is actually absorbed by the eye. Now, researchers led by Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, of Children’s Department of Anesthesiology and director of Children’s Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery, have developed special contact lenses that can gradually dispense medications to the eye—doing so for a month and even longer in the laboratory.
Kohane and collaborator Joseph Ciolino, MD, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, describe the lens in the July issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. The team has begun to test the lens in animals and plans to begin human testing soon.
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There’s currently no approved treatment for metastasis, the deadly migration of cancer to other sites in the body. Now, Randoph Watnick, PhD, of Children’s Vascular Biology Program, has isolated a potent metastasis inhibitor that’s made by tumor cells themselves, called prosaposin.
When Watnick’s team injected mice with highly metastatic breast or prostate tumor cells, then gave them prosaposin, the cells formed virtually no lung metastases; the few that did form were much smaller than usual. The mice also lived significantly longer. Interestingly, Watnick’s original goal was to identify tumor-secreted proteins that prepare landing places in distant organs for their metastases by attracting feeder blood vessels. But a conversation with the late Judah Folkman, MD, encouraged him to focus on prosaposin, which has the opposite effect. "You might have a drug right here," Folkman told him.
Indeed, Children’s Technology and Innovation Development Office is in active discussions to license prosaposin for commercial development. If further work bears out, Watnick envisions adding prosaposin or related anti-metastasis drugs to cancer therapy. The study was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of June 22.