The daily pill regimen to manage HIV could be over.
An experimental treatment developed jointly by teams at two universities managed to completely eliminate HIV in immune cells — and kept it from coming back for much longer than before.
Researchers led by Dr. Howard E. Gendelman at the University of Nebraska took protease inhibitors, a commonly prescribed antiviral, crystallizing and wrapping them in a protective cocoon of protein and fat to keep the liver and kidneys from breaking them down.
The "nanoformulated" antiviral was then combined with a new drug called URMC-099, formulated in the lab of Dr. Harris A. Gelbard at the University of Rochester, which boosted the concentration of the antiviral in immune cells and slowed the rate at which it was eliminated.
"The chemical marriage between URMC-099 and antiretroviral drug nanoformulations could increase drug longevity, improve patient compliance, and reduce general toxicities," said Gendelman in a statement.
The tests were carried out on mice whose immune systems had been genetically modified to work like that of humans. Clinical trials have not yet begun, but the researchers expect to start them "in the not too distant future."