Novel nanofiber-based technology could help prevent HIV/AIDS transmission
Promising research to be featured at 2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition
4-Nov-2014 - San Diego - Scientists have developed a novel topical microbicide loaded with hyaluronic acid (HA) nanofibers
that could potentially prevent transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the vaginal mucosa. This research is being
presented at the 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, the world's largest
pharmaceutical sciences meeting, in San Diego, Nov. 2-6.
HIV is an infectious virus that attacks T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that prevents infections and disease. Over time, HIV
dramatically depletes the body's T cell population, leaving the body defenseless against opportunistic pathogens. HIV is transmitted
through direct contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk from an infected person.
According to AIDS.gov, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million persons aged 13 years
and older are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 who are unaware that they have the virus. To date, there is no
functional cure for HIV infection/AIDS. Currently available anti-HIV drug delivery methods are formulated as gels and
suppositories, but can lack appropriate vaginal retention, are prone to medicine leakage, and may cause uncomfortable wetness.
To address these issues, Bi-Botti Youan, Ph.D and his colleagues from University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy developed an
anti-HIV drug loaded onto a mucoadhesive hyaluronic acid (HA) nanofiber delivery system. This delivery system is intended to stop HIV
transmission through the vaginal mucosa, providing a triggered release upon exposure to semen fluid during sexual intercourse. The
researchers used an electrospinning method to prepare the nanofibers loaded with tenofovir, a topical anti-HIV compound. Both
semen enzyme-dependent nanofiber degradation and drug release were then measured using chemical and analytical assays. The
cytotoxic effects of the nanofibers on human vaginal cells and on the Lactobacilli bacteria (L. crispatus) present in
vaginal flora were also assessed.
"The success of vaginal drug delivery systems depends on the length of time that the drug-containing formulation remains at the site of
administration (ex. vagina, rectum). The mucoadhesive nanofibers developed in this study could be beneficial by causing much less
discomfort and reducing the dosing frequency simultaneously due to their prolonged retention at the target site," said Youan.
The nanofiber-based formulation offers various potential advantages in vaginal drug delivery, including the ability to adapt delivery
systems for different medical needs, with no leakage or messiness after their application. Furthermore, this technology could be
beneficial in protecting drug molecules against enzymatic and other degradation that can occur in the body. Since human semen
is the carrier of HIV virus transmission during male to female intercourse, a semen enzyme-triggered nanofiber delivery
system as used in this study has the potential to inactivate or kill the HIV virus prior to exposure and penetration
of the vaginal mucosa.
The next stage of Youan's research is to examine the safety and efficacy of the hyaluronic acid-based nanofiber templates. Further in
vivo studies will be carried out using animal models to characterize the viral transmission, inhibition, potential biodistribution,
pharmacokinetics, vaginal retention time, safety and immunological responses to the nanofibers.
This work was supported by grant number R01AI087304 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Bethesda, MD, USA).
The 2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition aims to improve global health through advances in pharmaceutical sciences, and there will be
over 470 exhibiting companies and an estimated 7,000 attendees. The meeting features nearly 245 programming sessions, including more
than 65 symposia and roundtables and more than 2190 posters. Download the AAPS mobile application for additional information.
All press must provide press credentials to attend this meeting and register on-site in the press room 5AB. To schedule an interview
with Dr. Youan or for any other press inquiry, please contact Amanda Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-587-2520
or Saara Khadir at email@example.com or 202-587-2519.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional, scientific society of approximately 10,000 members employed in
academia, industry, government and other research institutes worldwide. Founded in 1986, AAPS provides a dynamic international forum for
the exchange of knowledge among scientists to serve the public and enhance their contributions to health. AAPS offers timely scientific
programs, on-going education, information resources, opportunities for networking, and professional development. For more information,
please visit http://www.aaps.org. Follow us on Twitter @AAPSComms; official
Twitter hashtag for the meeting is: #AAPS2014.
Contact: Amanda Johnson
American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
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