Image credit: Cameron Ball – Electrospun material dissolves quickly to release anti-HIV drug

UW Bioengineering Ph.D. student Cameron Ball and Assistant Professor Kim Woodrow demonstrate the potential for a new type of product that may help women protect themselves against sexual HIV transmission. Their research, published online ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (AAC) of the American Society for Microbiology, shows the ability of  a water-soluble electrospun fiber material to rapidly release maraviroc, an antiretroviral drug.

The researchers suggest that their material offers advantages over other anti-HIV microbicides currently in development intended for use during intercourse, such as gels, films and tablets. Gels need to be administered at a high volume to ensure a sufficient dose of the drug is retained, which can result in leakage. Films and tablets dissolve slowly, and often are capable of carrying a relatively low drug load, limiting their application to the most potent of drugs.

The researchers found that their electrospun fibers could carry a high load of maraviroc, a highly effective drug with few side effects, and release it quickly. The fast-acting properties of the material were further enhanced when a wetting agent was added. In addition to its promise as a fast-acting, effective anti-HIV drug delivery platform, the researchers suggest that the material offers the additional advantages of potentially being inexpensive to produce, and being a versatile platform for administering additional drugs to treat and prevent a wide range of bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Read the paper online at Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (AAC)