If you suffer from chronic dry eyes related to Sjogren Syndrome, a promising new therapy called Lacripep is in the pipeline.
A US team of researchers have discovered this novel therapy and, while it’s not commercially available yet, clinical trials look positive.
What is Lacripep (TM) ?
Lacripep is the brand name of a synthetically-produced protein fragment of lacritin, a protein produced by the glands of the eye and mouth.
This substance is secreted from the lacrimal and (to a lesser extent) the Meibomian glands of the eye, as well as the cells of the front surface of the eye (the conjunctiva). It has several important functions, including helping to create the eye’s three-layer tear film as well as promoting eye health by protecting against inflammation on the eye’s surface.
Why is lacritin significant in dry eye disease?
This important protein has been shown to be deficient in all forms of dry eye disease, including Sjogrens Syndrome.
Lacripep, developed by biologists at the University of Virginia, is claimed to restore the quality of your natural tears – long term.
Does it work?
Studies show that this therapy reduces inflammation of the lacrimal gland of the eye that produces your aqueous (watery) tears. In this way, Lacripep treats the underlying cause of dry eye disease, rather than providing symptomatic relief like many treatments. No other dry-eye drug has this ability.
Clinical studies have shown that even a one-off dose of Lacripep naturally encourages tears for hours, without causing irritation. These studies also show that after multiple doses in a day, these tears are still being produced a week later.
Is it safe?
That’s what FDA clinical trials determine through a rigorous process. Lacripep is produced from a naturally-occurring protein found in the eye. It has a dual effect of increasing watery tear production and decreasing inflammation.
Recently the company has developed a technology to release Lacripep from a contact lens to aid in the delivery of the treatment.
Is it available in Australia yet?
No. Lacripep is currently undergoing phase 2 FDA trials at 28 locations across the US. These trials, which look at the effect of the drug on humans, are expected to wrap up this month – October 2019. The next step is phase 3 trials, which look at the data collected in the trials, with the treatment expected to be commercially available within the next five years.