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Carnegie Science Center Podcast

Old Drugs, New Tricks: Putting an End to Traditional Eye Drops


Old Drugs, New Tricks: Putting an End to Traditional Eye Drops Presenter:

Morgan Fedorchak

Director Ophthalmic Biomaterials Laboratory

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, expected to affect up to 3 million Americans by 2020. One of the main risk factors in glaucoma is an unsafe increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP reduction in patients with glaucoma is typically accomplished through the administration of medicated eye drops several times daily, the difficult and frequent nature of which contributes to patient adherence rates estimated to be as low as 30%. Newer drug delivery methods for glaucoma aimed at improving patient adherence require clinician administration of invasive injections or implants. This talk will encompass the rational design and testing of a variety of controlled release systems for delivery of ocular drugs as well as the many significant considerations for translating these technologies to the clinic where they may benefit patients. In particular, discussion will focus on our team’s development of a completely unique formulation that provides one month of therapeutic levels of glaucoma medication from a noninvasive eye drop. We believe that this new treatment method may have the ability to overcome the issues inherent to traditional eye drop medication while avoiding the need for more invasive techniques.

Morgan Fedorchak is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Chemical Engineering, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and the director of the Ophthalmic Biomaterials Laboratory. She attended Carnegie Mellon University where she obtained her B.S. in both Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering in 2006. She later earned her PhD in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 under Dr. William Federspiel studying hemofiltration and medical devices. Subsequently, she was awarded a fellowship from the Fox Center for Vision Restoration to participate in a collaboration between Dr. Steve Little and Dr. Joel Schuman as a postdoctoral researcher in March of 2011. This work formed the basis for the development of a patent pending drug delivery system for glaucoma that was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal. Her research is currently supported by the National Eye Institute, the Cystinosis Research Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Innovation, and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Recorded Monday, September 12, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.