Scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center announced an impressive breakthrough in the development of HIV treatment. Having altered the chemical structure of an existing antiretroviral drug they made it able reaching cell and tissue where HIV persists. The researchers have put the modified medicine into nanocrystals which easily distributed throughout the body and reach cells and tissues where HIV resides including the lymph nodes, the bone marrow, the intestine and the spleen.
According to the results of the study, the drug placed in nanocrystals did not induce any toxic effects, was stable to temperature changes and remained unchanged for months. Treating with the drug did not influence any bodily functions significantly.
The crystals are coated with fat which helps them to penetrate the cell membrane easily. Howard Gendelman, M.D., professor, and chair, who in cooperation with Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., assistant professor, who conducted the study at UNMC’s Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, claimed that nanocrystals can reside inside cells for weeks. Having reached macrophages and stored inside them, the drug slowly starts to release from crystals in a prodrug form which then transforms into an active drug and enter the circulation from the cell and tissue where HIV persists.
Dr. Edagwa states that this new method of drug delivery may not only improve HIV prevention and treatment but can also be used for improving the effectiveness of other drug classes such as cancer treatment, treatment of other infectious diseases and degenerative diseases of a central nervous system. Dr. Gendelman also added that the new products can optimize HIV restrictive growth so that strategies that may eradicate viral infection would be successful.