Crosslinking studied as alternative to antibiotic treatment for infectious keratitis
BARCELONA — Photoactivated chromophore for keratitis, a crosslinking technique specifically aimed at treating infectious keratitis, is showing promising results and could be a valid alternative to antibiotics at a time when resistance is an alarming concern, according to a speaker.
“PACK-CXL crosslinking dates back to 2007, when our group realized that CXL could treat corneal infections. One of the key elements in our discovery was solar disinfection, propagated by WHO as a means to make water drinkable,” Farhad Hafezi, MD, PhD, said at the EuCornea Congress preceding the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting.
The incidence of infectious keratitis, defined by the World Health Organization as a “silent epidemic,” varies greatly at a global level, with 60,000 cases per year in the U.S. and almost 1 million cases per year in India. Contact lens wear is the main cause in Western countries, while minor corneal injuries prevail in the developing world.
In vitro studies have shown 99.9% efficacy of PACK-CXL (EMAGine) in killing the bacteria that are responsible for 90% of infectious keratitis.
The Swiss PACK-CXL phase 3 multicenter study is currently evaluating the efficacy of the crosslinking technique as a first line treatment of infectious keratitis in comparison to antibiotic treatment. It will eventually include patients from 17 sites in 15 countries across continents. Only early-stage infections, not deeper than 300 µ are treated in the study.
“We have treated the first few patients successfully. Resolution of the infection was achieved within 5 days after the procedure,” Hafezi said. — by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: Hafezi reports he is chief scientific officer of EMAGine.