Double success for innovative ‘child-friendly’ HIV treatment

University of Liverpool’s Nanomedicine research has been recognised by The (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and a fundraising campaign to help improve drug therapies for children with HIV has reached its target in record time.

Globally, 36.9 million people are estimated to be infected with HIV, with 21.7 million receiving HIV therapies placing a growing demand on access to life-saving medicines. Children as young as three weeks old get a twice-daily dose of insoluble antiretroviral drugs that are sometimes dissolved in strong alcohol.

Three-dimensional structure of HIV infected (blue, green) and uninfected (brown, purple) T cells interacting. One cell (brown) has wrapped an extension around its uninfected neighbor (purple) to reach an infected cell (blue). Data from focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM). Image credit: Donald Bliss (NLM), Sriram Subramaniam / NCI, Public DomainThree-dimensional structure of HIV infected (blue, green) and uninfected (brown, purple) T cells interacting. One cell (brown) has wrapped an extension around its uninfected neighbor (purple) to reach an infected cell (blue). Data from focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM). Image credit: Donald Bliss (NLM), Sriram Subramaniam / NCI, Public Domain

Three-dimensional structure of HIV infected (blue, green) and uninfected (brown, purple) T cells interacting. One cell (brown) has wrapped an extension around its uninfected neighbor (purple) to reach an infected cell (blue). Data from focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM). Image credit: Donald Bliss (NLM), Sriram Subramaniam / NCI, Public Domain via cancer.gov

Researchers from the University, led by Professors Andrew Owen and Steve Rannard from the University’s Nanomedicine Partnership, are developing lower-dose adult formulations and child-friendly treatments for HIV using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology, which can be dispersed in water not dissolved in alcohol.

These new treatments aim to reduce the doses required and increase the number of people treated from the same drug supply – reducing costs for cash-strapped charities working on the ground.

Appeal

Despite having a product ready for clinical trials funding was needed to support the next steps of paediatric clinical development.

In the Spring of 2017 the University’s Development and Alumni Team launched a fundraising appeal with the aim of raising £400K to translate this new medicine as soon as possible.

Thanks to the generosity of donors this fundraising target was met this month.

PEPFAR

Another milestone for the team is the inclusion of the formulations in the 2019 update of The (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) antiretroviral formulation prioritization list for low- and middle-income countries.

PEPFAR is a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa. The inclusion of the formulation on this list is an essential step towards this research reaching the millions of people who need it.

Next steps

Professor Steve Rannard, said: “Thank you to all of our supporters as every donation made to the appeal is greatly appreciated by the team. Your gifts are vital and will fund essential research that will enable us to get these new options to those who need it the most.”

Professor Andrew Owen, adds: “Our next steps are a manufacturing run and clinical trial, with a focus on paediatric nanomedicine. A high priority for us is to make these options widely available as cheaply as possible and our unique partnership with the Medicine Patent Pool will seek to make that happen.”

Source: University of Liverpool


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