Scientists at the University of Liverpool are leading a £1.65 million project to produce and test the first nanomedicines for treating HIV/AIDS.
The new therapy options were generated by modifying existing HIV treatments, called antiretrovirals (ARVs). The University has recently produced ARV drug particles at the nanoscale which potentially reduce the toxicity and variability in the response different patients have to therapies. Drug nanoparticles have been shown to allow smaller doses in other disease areas which opens up possibilities to reduce drug side-effects and the risk of drug resistance. Nanoscale objects are less than one micron in size – a human hair is approximately 80 microns in diameter.
HIV continues to increase in prevalence, with 34 million people currently infected worldwide. The new HIV therapies offer particular hope for treating children with HIV which affects 3.4 million children under the age of 15 years in Sub Saharan Africa. About 90% of infected infants acquire the virus through mother-to-child transmission. Without treatment one third of children die within their first year of life.
There are currently very limited child-appropriate HIV drugs available and existing treatments carry a range of risks for the infant including under or over dosing. The new HIV nanomedicines from the Liverpool team disperse into water, which will make them easier to administer, particularly to newborn babies.
The project will manufacture the ARV nanomedicines using commercially relevant techniques under clinical grade manufacturing conditions. IOTA NanoSolutions was created to further develop and exploit technology originally developed at the University of Liverpool. The company operates a novel nanoparticle synthesis technology, ContraSol™ and is working with major global pharmaceutical companies. The ARV programme represents a further extension to the ongoing collaboration between the University of Liverpool and IOTA NanoSolutions.
The project aims to deliver highly valuable data within three years and provide a platform for continual development and testing during that time.
This story is reprinted from material from the University of Liverpool, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.