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Use of Anti-Proliferative Topical Mitomycin C to Treat Dry Eye Disease and Eye Trauma

Technology #015-071-stepp

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Neurons of mouse corneas 28 days after superficial trauma. Treated with mitomycin c or control solution.
Mary Ann Stepp, Ph.D.
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Ahdeah Pajoohesh-Ganji, Ph.D.
Sonali Pal-Ghost, Ph.D.
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Brian Coblitz
Sr. Licensing Associate (202) 994-4345
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Provisional Patent Application Filed
Topical Mitomycin-C enhances subbasal nerve regeneration and reduces erosion frequency in the debridement wounded mouse cornea
Experimental Eye Research, Exp Eye Res. 2015 Aug 30. pii: S0014-4835(15)30019-1. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2015.08.023.

One of the most frequently encountered clinical ocular problems is keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye disease. Over 25% of patients with ophthalmic issues have dry eye disease, and common symptoms include redness, itchiness, and sensitivity to light. Although the cause of dry eye disease has been considered multifactorial, researchers discovered corneal epithelial over-proliferation as one cause of irritation and decreased tear production. GW researchers anticipate that topical mitomycin c, an anti-proliferative medication, can help treat dry eye.

While studying corneal traumas (which send many patients to emergency rooms), GW researchers demonstrated that over-proliferation of epithelial cells is associated with irritation, inflammation, increased cell turnover, and loss of patches of cells on the corneal surface, which can lead to infections. Mitomycin c helped mice heal significantly better from superficial corneal traumas.  

Irritation of the eyes makes people miserable and leads to problems producing enough of the right kind of tears. Existing topical treatments such as cyclosporine and artificial tears address some symptoms of dry eye disease. However, there is currently no treatment on the market for the root cause of dry eye disease. Topical use of mitomycin c may provide dry eye patients long-term symptomatic relief and prevent complications like ulcers and infections.


  • Effective treatment for dry eye disease
  • Treatment of superficial corneal traumas
  • Mitomycin c can also treat dry mouth disease (xerostomia) by inhibiting over-proliferation


  • Treats a cause of dry eye disease
  • Potential for long-term relief for all dry eye symptoms
  • Prevents complications from dry eye (ulcers, infections)