Chinese University researchers on Tuesday said they have found that a drug used to treat chronic inflammatory disorders such as arthritis can be better than steroids for treating uveitis.
The researchers estimated that around 10,000 Hongkongers are grappling with uveitis, an inflammatory condition of the eye that can potentially lead to permanent blindness.
At a press briefing, a research assistant professor in ophthalmology and visual sciences, Chu Wai-kit, said the traditional approach of using steroids is not effective for some patients and may even result in liver toxicity.
But the medication JAK inhibitor can suppress the development of autoimmune uveitis, which is triggered by immune system dysfunction, Chu said.
"The steroids have a lot of side effects, like the toxicity in other organs and immune suppression. From the reported documents of the JAK inhibitor, there are less side effects. There are still some other side effects, like the blood clots and others, but it is much rare," he said.
Chu said he hopes that JAK inhibition will be to treat uveitis patients within the next one to two years.