Immunoglobulin-derived treatment for dry eye results in positive response in patients



The study is the first to identify the presence of anti-citrullinated protein autoantibodies in human tear fluid as well as to discover the new treatment with eye drops.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) found that patients with dry eye had a reduction in signs and symptoms of the disease in response to a new treatment with eye drops targeting anti- autoantibodies. citrullinated protein (ACPA) in human tear fluid.

Published in the journal The ocular surface, the study’s authors were also the first to identify the presence of ACPA in human tear fluid. In a previous study, these researchers found that DNA strains extrude neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, to form webs on the surface of eyes affected by severe dry eye, causing inflammation.

The new eye drops, which are formulated using combined antibodies, treat dry eye by at least partially suppressing the immune system from a cycle of inflammation, according to the study. Pooled antibodies are made from immunoglobulins processed from donated blood from thousands of individuals, containing all of the various types of antibodies that neutralize the unwanted effects of ACPAs.

There are currently 2 drugs approved to treat dry eye disease, according to Sandeep Jain, MD, lead author of the study and UIC Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the College of Medicine.

“[T]hey do not work for everyone, especially those with serious illness, so it is very important to have a new drug that can treat the condition by targeting a different mechanism, in this case an auto- immunity, ”Jain said.

The study included 27 participants with severe dry eye, who were randomized into 2 groups. One group was given eye drops made from pooled antibodies and ordered to give 1 drop to each eye twice a day for 8 weeks. The control group received the same instructions with eye drops made without antibodies.

The researchers found that participants using antibody-based eye drops had a statistically significant and clinically significant reduction in corneal damage at 8 weeks compared to the control group. Symptom-related questionnaire scores also reflected a significant improvement in patients using the new antibody-based eye drops compared to non-antibody eye drops. In the test group, the amount of pro-inflammatory biomarkers, or dry areas, was also reduced on the surface of the eye.

“Trial participants who used the drops with pooled antibodies reported less eye discomfort and their corneas were healthier,” Jain said. “Data from this first clinical trial suggests that eye drops containing pooled antibodies may be safe and effective in treating dry eye disease, and we look forward to conducting larger randomized trials to definitively prove its effectiveness. “


  • Antibody-based eye drops show promise for treating dry eye [press release]. Posted on October 11, 2019. Accessed November 8, 2019.

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