UNMC team develops long-acting nanomedicines for HIV infection

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | July 20, 2012

This has been a good week for breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a daily pill, Truvada, which reduces the risk of HIV infection. On Wednesday, a UNMC research team's work to develop weekly or twice-monthly injectable antiretroviral therapy (ART) nanomedicines for HIV patients was published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. (Read the full abstract.)

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Howard Gendelman, M.D.
A long-acting, nanoformulated ART (nanoART) would be a substantive improvement over daily and sometimes more complex regimen of pills, said Howard Gendelman, M.D., the lead investigator on the development of nanoART for HIV/AIDS and professor and chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience (PEN).

Development praised

The journal article hails the successful testing of UNMC's ART injectables as treatment of HIV-infected mice and in preventing new infections.

"We actually followed the process exactly as we would with a person - and it worked," Dr. Gendelman said. "This is all very exciting. Although there are clear pitfalls ahead and the medicines are not yet ready for human use, the progress is undeniable."

Microscopic science provides huge advantage

One of the project's real advantages is in the nanoformulations, Dr. Gendelman said.

"NanoART is cell directed," he said. "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."

Turn the disease on itself

The UNMC project directs the medicine to the monocyte-macrophage, cells which carry the drug particle to sites of the body specifically where HIV grows.

"You're using the cell that is the target for the virus to deliver the drug against the virus," Dr. Gendelman said.

A team effort

The research team that works on the therapy is composed of researchers from two UNMC colleges, four departments and two universities, and includes investigators such as:

  • Georgette Kanmogne, Ph.D., associate professor in PEN;
  • Larisa Poluektova, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in PEN;
  • Upal Roy, Ph.D., senior research associate in PEN; and
  • JoEllyn McMillan, Ph.D., associate professor in PEN.

September 06, 2013 at 6:07 AM

May we pray for good outcomes. Has there been any developments in the drug delivery systems in the treatment of schizophrenia, in the last 30 years ( for slow release depot mimicking effect lasting not just 2-4 weeks , but maybe months or years with nanotechnology patches), to aid compliance, reduce relapse, cost and improve patient quality of life, and could nanotechnology patches be developed and applied, even globally for patients treatment ? responses to wateringbury@yahoo.co.uk

Mohammed Abdul Muneer
July 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Congratulations to Upal, PI and team!