Chronic degenerative retinopathies are the leading causes of irreversible vision loss and
blindness worldwide. There are limited treatment options for these conditions due to the lack of effective
drug delivery system. Currently, to slow disease progression, invasive and repeated drug administrations
into the vitreous are clinically performed. Encapsulated cell therapy (ECT) is a promising
approach for delivery of therapeutics to the retina in a safe, controlled, stable and long-term manner.
By utilizing cells as a source of drug production and isolating them from the host immune system with
biomaterial scaffolds, ECT enables the delivery of freshly synthesized therapeutics over prolonged periods of time at the
targeted location. Although ECT has been widely explored in treating neurological disorders in the central nervous system,
its application in the eye is a relative new area of research. This review paper intends to discuss the characteristic of
the eye as a target for ECT and the various parameters for optimizing ECT for ocular applications. Also, the current development
of ECT in retinal degenerative diseases is discussed. Further advancement in ocular drug development and optimization
of scaffold and cell performance in the ocular environment can potentiate the application of ECT over a broad
range of debilitating posterior ocular disorders.
Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration, encapsulated cell therapy, immunoisolation, implant administration, intravitreal,
retinitis pigmentosa, scaffold, sustained drug delivery.
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