Kovarova M, Benhabbour SR, Massud I, et al. Ultra-long-acting removable drug delivery system for HIV treatment and prevention. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):4156. Published 2018 Oct 8. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06490-w. PMID: 30297889; PMCID: PMC6175887.
Non-adherence to medication is an important health care problem, especially in the treatment of chronic conditions. Injectable long-acting (LA) formulations of antiretrovirals (ARVs) represent a viable alternative to improve adherence to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. However, the LA-ARV formulations currently in clinical trials cannot be removed after administration even if adverse events occur. Here we show an ultra-LA removable system that delivers drug for up to 9 months and can be safely removed to stop drug delivery. We use two pre-clinical models for HIV transmission and treatment, non-human primates (NHP) and humanized BLT (bone marrow/liver/thymus) mice and show a single dose of subcutaneously administered ultra-LA dolutegravir effectively delivers the drug in both models and show suppression of viremia and protection from multiple high-dose vaginal HIV challenges in BLT mice. This approach represents a potentially effective strategy for the ultra-LA drug delivery with multiple possible therapeutic applications.