A team of researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center has developed a new method of combating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by modifying an existing retroviral drug that will target difficult to reach cells where the virus has taken residence, paving the way for a possible cure.
The investigators made use of the retroviral drug dolutegravir, changing its chemical structure and then placing it inside nanocrystals. The structurally-modified drug was then tested and yielded results which showed the antiviral effectively traveling throughout the body and penetrating areas where HIV inhabits.
Through this physiochemical drug strategy, scientists were able to dramatically extend the life of the drug inside the body and its entry inside cells afflicted with the virus. Such is fundamental in significantly reducing viral growth in tissues of the lymph nodes, the bone marrow, intestine and the spleen.
"The new products can optimize HIV restrictive growth so that strategies that may eradicate viral infection would be successful," said Dr. Howard Gendelman, M.D., professor another proponent of the breakthrough in a statement with UNMC Newsroom.
Unlike other retroviral drugs, the paper claims that this modified medication is non-toxic and was able to maintain itself despite temperature fluctuations inside the human body.
In a statement with KFOR, Dr. Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., an assistant professor who co-led the study in UNMC's Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience (PEN), this particular method will not only be effective against fighting HIV but can also be applied to other drugs such as those used to treat cancer and other infectious, degenerative diseases that target the brain.
The entirety of this new, systemized innovation can be accessed in the biomedical journal Nature Communications.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), HIV is a viral infection that targets the immune system which impairs brain function eventually leading to immune deficiency. In 2016, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS tallied at 36.7 million.
At present, there is still no known cure for HIV/AIDS. However, antiretroviral drugs that hamper the development and effects of the virus HIV-AIDS cure news 2018: A breakthrough in drug modification could lead to HIV cure.