Health Discovery: New Capsule Allows Weekly HIV Treatment
Health Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham Women’s Hospital, United States (U.S.) have developed a capsule that can deliver a week ’s worth of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) drugs in a single dose.
The new capsule is to be taken by patients just once a week, and the drug will release gradually throughout the week. “One of the main barriers to treating and preventing HIV is adherence, ” says Giovanni Traverso, a research affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women’ s Hospital.“ The ability to make doses less frequent stands to improve adherence and make a significant impact at the patient level.”
Traverso and Robert Langer, the David H.Koch Institute Professor at MIT, are the senior authors of the study, which appears in the January 9 issue of Nature Communications. MIT postdoc Ameya Kirtane and visiting scholar Omar Abouzid are the lead authors of the paper.
Scientists from Lyndra, a company that was launched to develop this technology, also contributed to the study . Lyndra is now working toward performing a clinical trial using this delivery system.
The new drug- delivery system can potentially help patients with HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ( AIDS), as well as many other diseases, ” Langer says.
Although the overall mortality rate of HIV has dropped significantly since the introduction of antiretroviral therapies in the 1990 s , there were 2.1 million new HIV infections and 1.2 million HIV- related deaths in 2015.
Several large clinical trials have evaluated whether antiretroviral drugs can prevent HIV infection in healthy populations. These trials have had mixed success, and one major obstacle to preventative treatment is the difficulty in getting people to take the necessary pills every day. The MIT/ BWH team believed that a drug delivery capsule they developed in 2016 might help to address this problem.