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Pharmacy professor publishes on potential for drug to stave off HIV

Chris Destache, Pharm.D., earned a National Institutes for Health grant last year to look into using HIV drug nanoparticles fabricated with a FDA-approved biocompatible polymer and how those drug-ladened nanoparticles can be used to help prevent HIV.A new drug delivery system for HIV prevention will be the subject of research published next month by a Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions professor.

Professor of Pharmacy Practice Chris Destache, Pharm.D., earned a National Institutes for Health grant last year to look into using HIV drug nanoparticles fabricated with a FDA-approved biocompatible polymer and how those drug-ladened nanoparticles can be used to help prevent HIV. The result is a sustained-release, nanoparticle-based gel that can be administered vaginally and may be able to protect humans from contracting HIV for a period of two to three days.

Destache’s research, undertaken jointly with the Nebraska Center for Virology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will be published in the June edition of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

A main upshot of the development of a potential sustained-release drug delivery system that can be introduced vaginally is for women at risk of contracting HIV to have a discreet method of prevention that falls within their control.

“In many parts of the world, women don’t have much of a say in protecting themselves against sexually-transmitted infection,” Destache said. “Our hope is that this nanoparticle-based gel, which is undetectable, might be a way for women to protect themselves for a sustained period of time.”

Next steps in the research for Destache’s NIH grant are to continue expanding the timeframe during which the nanoparticle-based drug remains active, thereby extending its drug-releasing properties to protect from contracting HIV.

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