Targeting Drugs to the Lymph Nodes for HIV and Cancer Therapies

Introduction HIV patients are currently treated using “HAART,” a highly active anti-retroviral therapy in which a plethora of drugs are administered to patients. This therapy is effective in reducing virus concentration in the blood, however, studies have shown that levels in the lymph nodes do not decrease as significantly during HARRT treatment. This suggests that the HIV viral particles “hide” in a lymph node reservoir, contributing greatly to the inability to completely eliminate the virus from the body and to eventual progression to AIDS. Thus, targeting anti-HIV drugs to the lymph node could significantly slow disease progression. Technology description Studies have shown that administration of the anti-HIV drug indinavir results in higher levels of the drug in the blood as compared to the lymph nodes. Any increase is dosage to deliver more to the lymph nodes would be accompanied by toxicity. Scientists at the UW have developed an indinavir lipid formulation that enhances delivery of indinavir specifically to the lymph nodes. Upon subcutaneous injection of the lipid-associated formulation, indinavir concentrations in lymph nodes were 250-2270% higher in lymph nodes that in blood, resulting in significantly reduced viral RNA load and increased CD4 T cell numbers. Business opportunity This formulation may be developed to improve both HIV and cancer therapies. Stage of development The inventors have completed and published studies of the lipid-associated formulation using primates (macaques).

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