Research looks to simplify HIV treatment

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations | August 25, 2011

UNMC researchers have made strides on a new therapy that would allow patients with HIV to receive a weekly injection rather than take daily a regimen of pills to manage their disease.

The potential injection treatment -- which has shown promise in rodent models -- is a substantive breakthrough for HIV patients, said Howard Gendelman, M.D., professor and chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience, who leads the team that includes members from two UNMC colleges and two other universities.

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Howard Gendelman, M.D.
"Having a single injection for treatment would facilitate compliance of complex dosing regimens and be quite beneficial to patients who cannot take the drugs orally," Dr. Gendelman said. "Compliance is the key to maintaining control of HIV growth. It's absolutely critical that patients take their medications."

The research is funded as a three-year, $4.6 million pilot grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.

In the first year, the research team has successfully developed a lead drug formulation in rodents. Tests are now underway in larger animals. Human use will require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

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