Chronic inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ocular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and age-related macular degeneration. Activation and proliferation of naïve T cells may result in pathological changes responsible for significant visual morbidity. Sirolimus (earlier termed rapamycin) is a novel drug that inhibits cellular kinases and, thereby, inhibits T-cell proliferation. Preclinical studies in experimental models have shown promising results with the use of this pharmacological agent in various ocular conditions. Subsequently, early phase I/II studies have provided encouraging safety and efficacy data. This chapter focuses on the mechanisms of action, preclinical study results and data from human clinical trials of sirolimus in human eye diseases. Key highlights from ongoing phase III clinical trials are also provided. Sirolimus, thus, appears to be an important addition to the armamentarium of steroid-sparing therapeutic agents that act on various steps in the inflammatory pathway.
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