A team of researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) is trying to develop a jab which would replace the daily pill routine for HIV patients. They are moving ahead in the direction of developing weekely or twice monthly inject-able ART (antiretroviral therapy) nanomedicines for patients suffering HIV infection.
Experts at UNMC developed a specifically designed mouse model to test ART. As mice cannot catch human HIV, so they have developed mice having immune system equivalent to humans. Such a mouse model enables advances tests on HIV and its treatment. The UNMC’s team successfully tested ART injectables as treatment of HIV-infected mice and in preventing new infections.
Previously this week US drug regulator FDA approved a daily pill, Truvada that diminishes the risk of HIV infection. Lead investigator Dr Howard Gendelman, on the development of nanoART (nanoformulated ART) for HIV, working as chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience (PEN) at UNMC, explained, a long-acting, (nanoART) would be a substantive enhancement over daily and sometimes more complex routine of pills.
Dr Gendelman further states, NanoART is cell directed. So when you take a pill, the pill travels throughout the body indiscriminately. In these nanomedicines, you can use the body’s own cells to direct the medicine where you want it to go. You are using the cell that is the target for the virus to deliver the drug against the virus.
He added they in fact followed the process precisely as they would with a person and it worked. This is all very exciting. Even though there are clear drawbacks ahead and the medicines are not yet ready for human use, but the progress is irrefutable. The UNMC job directs the medicine to the monocyte-macrophage, cells which carry the drug particle to places in the body specifically where HIV grows.
Prof Georgette Kanmogne, from PEN, stated an ART injection would be an improvement for HIV patients because it would produce all the medicine needed without the complications of remembering to take pills daily, drug toxicities, and buildup of viral resistance, intestinal problems, or the social stigma of pills. The work will be presented at the forthcoming meeting for the American Society for Nanomedicine.
The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.