This month alone, there have been several announced breakthroughs for the advancement of HIV/AIDS treatment.

Not only will there now be an over-the-counter, do-it-yourself, HIV/AIDS test, and a daily pill, Truvada, which reduces the risk of HIV but now comes news that researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) are striving to develop a weekly or biweekly injectable antiretroviral therapy (ART) nanomedicines for patients with the HIV infection.

Howard Gendelman, M.D, and lead investigator on the development of the nanoART said, “This is all very exciting. Although there are clear pitfalls ahead and the medicines are not yet ready for human use, the progress is undeniable.”

With the use of mouse models specifically designed to replicate human HIV, the way the nanoArt is said to work is by directing the medicine to the monocytemacrophage, the cells responsible for carrying the drug particle to locations of the body specifically where HIV grows. Researchers at UNMC are targeting the cell that the virus aims to attack to deliver the drug against the virus.

According to Dr. Gendelman, the investigation's significant benefits are in the nanoformulations. Unlike pills, which have to travel throughout one’s entire body alomst at random, nanomedicines can use the body’s own cell to guide the medicine to the specific location you want it to go.

According to Georgette Kanmogne, PhD, associate professor in the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience at UNMC, lead investigator in previous studies on the subject, an ART injection would be advancement for those suffering with HIV. It will give patients a chance to lead a normal life without the complexity of having to remember to take several different pills a day, for things such as drug toxicities, buildup of viral resistance and intestinal problems. It will also help rid the societal stigma of pills.

Dr. Gendelman has coined the progress “a Nebraska invention,” because it involved several of the state’s scientists in a variety of fields working together.

“We work as a team and work effectively as a team with different scientists with very different disciplines involved in different aspects of the work,” Dr. Gendelman said.

The work will be presented at the forthcoming meeting for the American Society for Nanomedicine, where Dr. Gendelman will serve as conference chair.