Treatment with amniotic cytokine extract (ACE) may bring about significant improvements in both corneal staining and symptoms in patients with dry eye disease (DED), according to researchers at AAO 2017, the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
“DED affects over 30 million patients a year, and although there are good therapies that exist, there still are many symptomatic patients; thus [there] remains a large need for more novel therapies to help patients overcome this disease,” said lead author Preeya K. Gupta, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, Cornea & Refractive Surgery, Duke Eye Center, Durham, NC.
But what is ACE? Dr. Gupta explained:
“Through a proprietary cryopreservation technique, ACE (Genesis, Ocular Science, Manhattan Beach, CA) is the cytokine extract derived from amniotic membranes. Each eye drop contains more than 120 active cytokines, growth factors like nerve growth factor, and anti-inflammatory molecules such as PGE2, GDF11, WNT4, and thrombospondin-1.”
Dr. Gupta and colleagues undertook this study to assess the clinical outcomes of ACE in DED patients. They conducted a retrospective chart review of 21 patients who had received ACE for symptomatic DED and used it twice daily for 30 days.
At baseline and after 30 days of treatment, researchers measured visual acuity, a symptom score using the visual analog scale (VAS) for eye dryness, total corneal staining grade (NEI scale), and adverse events.
“In DED patients treated with ACE one drop twice daily for 4 weeks, we found reductions in symptoms and signs of DED. The mean eye dryness score improved from 68 to 41.4 (P < 0.05), with 81% of subjects showing an improvement on VAS score from baseline. The mean total corneal staining score improved from 7.2 to 3.2 (P < 0.05) with 70% of subjects improving at least 50%,” noted Dr. Gupta.
Finally, Dr. Gupta reported that the drop was well tolerated, with few patients reporting mild burning or stinging, and only one discontinuing treatment due to burning.
Dr. Gupta and colleagues are encouraged by their results, but called for further prospective studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ACE, which is also currently being studied in patients with corneal injuries.