New Weekly Capsule May Allow Dosing of HIV Treatment

Replacing daily pills with a weekly regimen could allow patients to adhere to treatment. Specialists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week’s worth of human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) drugs in a single dose.

The scientists say this advance could make for patients substantially much easier to adhere to the strict schedule of dosing required for the drug cocktails used to fight the virus. The new capsule is designed with the goal that patients can take it just once every week, and the drug will release gradually throughout the week.

This type of delivery system couldn’t just improve patients’ adherence to their treatment plan yet, in addition, be used by individuals in risk of HIV exposure to help prevent them from becoming infected, the analysts say.

Giovanni Traverso, a research affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says, “one of the main barriers to treating and preventing HIV is adherence”.

“The ability to make ability less frequent stands to improve adherence and have a significant effect at the patient level.” Traverso and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, are the senior authors of the study, which appears in Nature Communications.

The lead authors of the paper are MIT postdoc Ameya Kirtane and visiting scholar Omar Abouzid. Researchers from Lyndra, a company that was launched to develop this technology, also added to the study. Lyndra is working toward performing a clinical trial utilizing this using this delivery system.

The MIT/BWH group is also working on adapting this technology to other diseases that could benefit from weekly drug dosing. In view of the way the polymer arms of the capsule that the specialists designed, it is fairly simple to swap different drugs in and out, they say.

They are additionally working on capsules that could remain in the body for any long periods of time.

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