Researchers Develop New Capsule to Treat HIV
Researchers designed a capsule that can deliver a week’s worth HIV drugs in a single dose, according to a new study published in Science Daily on January 8, 2018.
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a capsule that would help patients adhere to the strict schedule of dosing required for the drug cocktails used to fight viruses. `
The new capsule allows patients to take medication just once a week, however, internally providing them with medication for the entire week. This type of delivery system could be used for people at exposed to HIV, helping them prevent the infection.
“One of the main barriers to treating and preventing HIV is adherence. The ability to make doses less frequent stands to improve adherence and make a significant impact at the patient level.” says Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“We are all very excited about how this new drug-delivery system can potentially help patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as many other diseases,” Langer says, a lead author of the study.
The drug delivery capsule developed in 2016 was used to address this problem. Their capsule consists of a star-shaped structure with six arms that can be loaded with drugs, folded inward, and encased in a smooth coating. After the capsule is swallowed, the arms unfold and gradually release their cargo. Researchers then created a similar capsule for HIV.
In their original version, the entire star shape was made from one polymer that both provides structural support and carries the drug payload. It was thus, difficult to design new capsules that would release drugs at varying rates, as any changes to the polymer composition might disrupt the capsule’s structural integrity.
To overcome this issue, researchers designed a new version in which the backbone of the star structure would still remain strong, however, each of the six arms can be filled with a different drug-loaded polymer. This made it easier to design a capsule that releases drugs at different rates.
They tested the capsule in pigs and discovered that the capsules were able to successfully lodge in the stomach and release three different HIV drugs over one week. They disintegrated into smaller components that could pass through the digestive tract.
This new capsule has the potential to cure several viral infections. Advancements in molecular diagnostics coupled with miniaturization of devices over the recent past is driving demand for several methods of treatment such as point-of-care, as per point-of-care infectious disease diagnostics market report published by Coherent Market Insights.
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