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Saving sight. Changing lives.

Drug Delivery Research

Affiliated with the University of MelbourneUniversity of Melbourne Logo

Lead Researcher: Dr Hong Zhang

Drug Delivery Research at CERA is investigating non-invasive and targeted tools, treatment options and technologies for vision threatening diseases such as endophthalmitis, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Current research

Ocular implants for bacterial endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis (infection within the eye) is a rare, but potentially devastating, intraocular infection involving inflammation of the intraocular cavities, with poor visual outcome for patients.  We are developing an implant, in collaboration with PolyActiva Pty Ltd, that will allow slow-release antibiotics to be delivered directly to the eye, without the need for multiple injections.

Hypotensive drug delivery system for glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting an estimated 70 million individuals. There is a real need for alternative products to eye drops that can be administered far less frequently than current therapies and vastly reduces the need for voluntary patient compliance. The same technology utilised for the endophthalmitis implant will be used to produce ocular implants for the treatment of glaucoma.

Trans-scleral drug delivery for ocular neovascularisation

The vast majority of diseases that cause catastrophic loss of vision, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), retinopathy of prematurity and ocular tumours, do so as a result of pathologic ocular neovascularisation (unhealthy blood vessel growth).

Effective and affordable treatments for targeting retinal and choroidal (layer of the eye between the retina and the sclera) blood vessel growth are a priority in ophthalmology. We are using a novel ultrasonic trans-scleral delivery system (called SonoEye and developed by Seagull Technologies Pty Ltd) and testing whether it is equivalent to intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF drugs in treating unhealthy blood vessel growth. We are also developing nanotechnology as a potential method of non-invasive drug delivery.