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Development of lifitegrast: a novel T-cell inhibitor for the treatment of dry eye disease

Authors Semba C, Gadek T

Received 14 April 2016

Accepted for publication 12 May 2016

Published 10 June 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 1083—1094


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Charles P Semba,1 Thomas R Gadek2

1Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; 2Ophthalma Logic Consulting, Park City, UT, USA

Abstract: Dry eye disease (DED) is a multifactorial disorder of the ocular surface characterized by symptoms of discomfort, decreased tear quality, and chronic inflammation that affects an estimated 20 million patients in the US alone. DED is associated with localized inflammation of the ocular surface and periocular tissues leading to homing and activation of T cells, cytokine release, and development of hyperosmolar tears. This inflammatory milieu results in symptoms of eye dryness and discomfort. Homing of T cells to the ocular surface is influenced by the binding of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1; CD11a/CD18; αLβ2), a cell surface adhesion protein, to its cognate ligand, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1; CD54), which is expressed on inflamed ocular/periocular epithelium and vascular endothelium. LFA-1/ICAM-1 binding within the immunologic synapse enables both T-cell activation and cytokine release. Lifitegrast is a novel T-cell integrin antagonist that is designed to mimic the binding epitope of ICAM-1. It serves as a molecular decoy to block the binding of LFA-1/ICAM-1 and inhibits the downstream inflammatory process. In vitro studies have demonstrated that lifitegrast inhibits T-cell adhesion to ICAM-1-expressing cells and inhibits secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, macrophage inflammatory protein 1 alpha, interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6, all of which are known to be associated with DED. Lifitegrast has the potential to be the first pharmaceutical product approved in the US indicated for the treatment of both symptoms and signs of DED. Clinical trials involving over 2,500 adult DED patients have demonstrated that topically administered lifitegrast 5.0% ophthalmic solution can rapidly reduce the symptoms of eye dryness and decrease ocular surface staining with an acceptable long-term safety profile. The purpose of this review is to highlight the developmental story – from bench top to bedside – behind the scientific rationale, engineering, and clinical experience of lifitegrast for the treatment of DED.

Keywords: LFA-1, ICAM-1, ocular surface disease, inflammation, drug development

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