Peptide Nanofiber System for Sustained Delivery of Anti-VEGF Proteins to the Eye Vitreous

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YAYLACI S., Dinç E., AYDIN B., Tekinay A. B., Guler M. O.

Pharmaceutics, vol.15, no.4, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15041264
  • Journal Name: Pharmaceutics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, hydrogels, peptide nanofiber, ranibizumab, sustained drug release
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: Yes


Ranibizumab is a recombinant VEGF-A antibody used to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. It is intravitreally administered to ocular compartments, and the treatment requires frequent injections, which may cause complications and patient discomfort. To reduce the number of injections, alternative treatment strategies based on relatively non-invasive ranibizumab delivery are desired for more effective and sustained release in the eye vitreous than the current clinical practice. Here, we present self-assembled hydrogels composed of peptide amphiphile molecules for the sustained release of ranibizumab, enabling local high-dose treatment. Peptide amphiphile molecules self-assemble into biodegradable supramolecular filaments in the presence of electrolytes without the need for a curing agent and enable ease of use due to their injectable nature—a feature provided by shear thinning properties. In this study, the release profile of ranibizumab was evaluated by using different peptide-based hydrogels at varying concentrations for improved treatment of the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. We observed that the slow release of ranibizumab from the hydrogel system follows extended- and sustainable release patterns without any dose dumping. Moreover, the released drug was biologically functional and effective in blocking the angiogenesis of human endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, an in vivo study shows that the drug released from the hydrogel nanofiber system can stay in the rabbit eye’s posterior chamber for longer than a control group that received only a drug injection. The tunable physiochemical characteristics, injectable nature, and biodegradable and biocompatible features of the peptide-based hydrogel nanofiber show that this delivery system has promising potential for intravitreal anti-VEGF drug delivery in clinics to treat the wet form age-related macular degeneration.