University of Nebraska research shows promise in HIV fight

University of Nebraska Medical Center scientists believe their new delivery system can partner with a drug developed by University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to combat and ultimately control HIV.

“The results are very promising,” Harris Gelbard, the study author from the University of Rochester, said. “We have been able to show that the combination therapy can rid the body of HIV-1 for very long periods of time.”

Whereas current treatments require patients to take a daily regimen of pills, the marriage of URMC-099 and nanoformulated ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (nanoATV/r) would need to only be administered several times per year with long-lasting effect.

“We hope to improve on this combination such that it can be given every few months or even longer as a sort of ‘chemical vaccine’ that can keep HIV-1 levels below the limits of detection,” Gelbard said. “This would greatly increase patient compliance and greatly decrease side effects from drugs used to treat HIV.”

There are still many elements of the study to perform, however, including testing URMC-099’s use with antiretroviral drugs and repeat those studies with NanoURMC-099. Gelbard hopes the therapy will be ready for the Food and Drug Administration to greenlight further trials by the end of 2016.