New Therapy for Corneal Burns

New Therapy for Corneal Burns

In a study published online on January 8 in Translational Vision, Science and Technology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists showed that their novel wound-healing therapy speeds the healing of corneal alkaline burns and may improve on current therapies that have limited success against such burns.

Researchers in the lab of co-senior author David Sharp, Ph.D., had previously discovered that an enzyme called fidgetin-like 2 (FL2) puts the brakes on skin cells as they migrate towards wounds to heal them. To release the brakes on those cells and allow them to move faster, he and his colleagues developed small interfering RNA molecules (siRNAs) that specifically inhibit the gene that codes for FL2.

The current study found that nanoparticles delivering three different concentrations of FL2-targeting siRNAs all enhanced wound healing in the corneas of rats compared with control nanoparticles; nanoparticles containing the two higher concentrations produced the highest rates of corneal healing with no associated toxicity.

Dr. Sharp is professor of physiology & biophysics, of ophthalmology and visual sciences, and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. The other co-senior author is Cheng Zhang, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, of pediatrics and in The Saul R. Korey Department of Pediatrics at Einstein. The nanoparticles used in this study were developed in the lab of Joel Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of physiology & biophysics at Einstein. This work was done collaboratively with MicroCures Inc., a biotech spinoff from Einstein co-founded by Dr. Sharp.