Exploring Nanotechnology in HIV Drug Delivery

Researchers seek to improve HIV drug therapies through nanomedicine.

Nanotechnology has been gaining traction in the cancer research world, but in a new study, researchers examined its use to help improve drug delivery to HIV-positive patients.

Current treatment for HIV involves a daily oral dose of HIV drugs. However, this form of treatment comes with significant complications that arise from the high pill burden and leads to nonadherence. The preclinical development data from ongoing human trials was published in Nature Communications.

“The fruits of our interdisciplinary research are beginning to be realized,” said co-lead researcher Andrew Owen. “Our approach has the potential to overcome challenges with current antiretroviral therapy, which included administration of high doses needed to achieve efficacious concentrations in the body, and the urgent need for better formulations for children living with HIV.”

There are currently no clinically-available nanotherapies for HIV patients, but in a recent evaluation, those with the virus showed a willingness to switch to nanomedicine alternatives if there were proven benefits.

Additionally, conventional pediatric HIV medications are poorly available. When researchers examined one of the current pediatric formulations, they found that it uses high ethanol concentrations to solubilize lopinavir, which is a poorly soluble antiretroviral.

“The wide applicability of our strategy has implications for multiple therapy development programs and we are actively engaged in the creation of nanomedicine options to impact a range of clinical needs,” said co-lead researcher Steve Rannard.