New Long Acting Implants for HIV Drug Delivery

Release Date: 05-Oct-2019

Recently, a new HIV drug Delivery system is prepared by the group of researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. The prepared system is an ultra-long-acting tunable, biodegradable, and removable polymer-based delivery system that offers sustained drug delivery for up to one year for HIV treatment or prophylaxis.


The work of the researchers is published in journal Nature Communications. The study is published under the title “Ultra-long-acting tunable biodegradable and removable controlled release implants for drug delivery”. The authors informed that the main aim of this seven-year study in animals was to develop a delivery system that can offer ultra-long-acting drug release by using four abilities i.e. providing flexibility in the choice of active ingredient, sustained release for weeks or months, the ability to be surgically removed in case of an allergic or adverse reaction, and the ability to integrate multiple drugs.


During the research, about 14 retroviral drugs were investigated by the team for their suitability to be formulated into in situ forming implants (ISFIs). After that, six antiretroviral drugs were selected according to their solubility in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and relevance as a combination therapy for HIV treatment or prevention. The six were able to be formulated into ISFIs individually or in combination with one or two other drugs. All six kept their physical and chemical properties within the formulation and upon release, and were released from the implant at effective levels for a sustained amount of time ranging from one month to a year.


According to the Rahima Benhabbour, PhD, first author of the study and assistant professor in the UNC/NC State University (NCSU) joint department of biomedical engineering, “There is no FDA-approved or marketed technology for long-acting prevention of HIV, and we are the first to use this delivery method with multiple antiretroviral drugs,”. She also told that to have an HIV prevention treatment that consists of an injection once or twice a year would make an incredible impact for patients.


She added, “This technology is not only promising for HIV, but for any kind of condition that requires a daily intake of medication. We’re talking about a safe, removable, long-lasting injection that takes away the burden of adhering to a daily medication regimen.”


The injectable drug implant prepared by UNC’s research team overcomes several drawbacks of the current method of long-acting drug delivery for HIVandmdash;namely the ability to remove it and quickly eliminate the presence of residual drug in the system. This implant is able to last for about a month after the injection, and the levels of drug reduces within one week.

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