New delivery method opens powerful option for HIV treatment
Managing HIV treatment may never be the same.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center have discovered a way to revolutionize the treatment of HIV. Early studies show UNMC’s novel approach could reduce the regimen to a single treatment once every month, eliminating the need for current strategies that require daily administration of medicine.
Antiretroviral therapies, or ART, are also ineffective at reaching viral reservoirs such as the lymph nodes and the central nervous system. These viral reservoirs essentially serve as a bunkers that shelter HIV from current medications. But UNMC researchers overcame this obstacle with a new nanoformulation called LaserART.
LaserART harnesses the power of the patient’s immune system to store and deliver ART medications throughout the entire body in a sustained release formulation.
LaserART targets the immune system’s hunter cells, or macrophages, which roam the body on a perpetual seek and destroy mission looking for foreign invaders. LaserART piggybacks on the macrophages, which have full access to all parts of the body, including the central nervous system—a particularly difficult system to hack for most modern medicines.
Early tests on mouse models and large animals show that LaserART produces a sustained release with long-lasting antiretroviral activity.
With further development LaserART could have a dramatic impact on the estimated 34.2 million people on the planet who are affected by HIV. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV infection.
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