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HIV PrEP in Tampon - UW researchers work to create a fast-acting HIV protection in dissolvable fabric
 
 
  "a dissolvable fabric which can be preloaded with HIV-preventive medications, allowing for fast and discreet use.....The solid product is a dissolvable fabric which can be attached to something like a tampon applicator. The fabric is then inserted vaginally and dissolves once it comes in contact with tissue, releasing the drug.....The product may eventually be developed into a sustained release form which would provide longer lasting protection. This would mean it may be able to be used pre or post intercourse.......Right now she works primarily with tissue samples, looking at the way the drug releases into the tissue. After that function is optimized they aim to move into an animal study and then into clinical trials......hopes that some type of fiber formulation of HIV prevention will become available in the next ten years"
 
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UW researchers work to create a fast-acting HIV protection
 
HIV medicine applicator -
 

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The UW's dissolving fibers could be spun and placed within an applicator, similar to those used to insert a tampon. The inset image shows the quick-release fibers magnified 5,000 times
 
August 20, 2014
Sasha Glenn
 
http://dailyuw.com/archive/2014/08/20/science/uw-researchers-work-create-fast-acting-hiv-protection#.U_SLVEiCIqk
 
Researchers in the UW department of bioengineering have been working on a dissolvable fabric which can be preloaded with HIV-preventive medications, allowing for fast and discreet use.
 
The research is being done by the Woodrow Research Group, led by Kim Woodrow, assistant professor of bioengineering, and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Their work has recently been published in the journal, Antiviral Research.
 
Cameron Ball, lead author of the paper and a former researcher in the Woodrow Research Group who graduated with his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the UW this past quarter, explained that the lab primarily focuses on drug delivery systems for men and women at risk of HIV, rather than the drugs themselves. The main goal is to take away the need for advance planning and offer a product that can be used as close to the time of intercourse as possible.
 
Currently there are products on the market which offer HIV protection. These include gels which can be messy, and films and tablets which can take longer to become effective. The dissolvable fabric option could become effective in as quickly as 15 minutes, and would be more discrete.
 
Electrospun fabrics can be made from a variety of polymers that drugs can be mixed into and used for dual purposes such as contraception plus HIV preventative medicine simultaneously. Ball explained that the materials are most commonly used for air filtration systems, but are now being looked at for medical use, particularly women's reproductive and sexual health needs. Anna Blackney, a UW Ph.D. bioengineering student and coauthor, explained that the process starts out with a solution made up of a polymer, a drug, and a solvent. The solution is then taken into a syringe with an electrically charged needle. The liquid solution is put into the electrospinning machine, and as fluid is pushed out of the needle it becomes exposed to the electric field, and is drawn over to a collector. During that process the solvent evaporates and the result is a solid product.
 
The solid product is a dissolvable fabric which can be attached to something like a tampon applicator. The fabric is then inserted vaginally and dissolves once it comes in contact with tissue, releasing the drug.
 
"It's very analogous to the way cotton candy is made," Ball said. "You have a viscous solution that has the polymer in solution, which the drug is mixed into. When it's pushed out of a small hole that's charged to high voltage the like charges on the surface of the polymer cause electrostatic repulsion, which stretches the fiber out really thin."
 
Blackney said her role has primarily been helping with moving the product testing into live animal models. Right now she works primarily with tissue samples, looking at the way the drug releases into the tissue. After that function is optimized they aim to move into an animal study and then into clinical trials.
 
"We get tissue from the primate center on campus, so after animals are sacrificed from other experiments we basically just divvy up the tissue, kind of like what you would get from a butcher shop or something like that," Blackney said. "They try and use every part of the [animal]."
 
Blackney applies the drug to the tissue to see how fast it dissolves. She also observes how it releases by measuring the concentration of the drug in the tissue. The product may eventually be developed into a sustained release form which would provide longer lasting protection. This would mean it may be able to be used pre or post intercourse.
 
"Our work is mainly looking forward to the global health application in which Africa is the main epicenter of the aids epidemic, as well as Southeast Asia," Ball said. "In those populations some countries have a 25 percent HIV positive rate among young women ages 15 to 25."
 
Ball hopes that some type of fiber formulation of HIV prevention will become available in the next ten years. The work being done now is the foundation, but the product will need to be tested in animal models such as rabbits for toxicity, and then in non-human primate models for effectiveness before it is cleared by the FDA for market use.
 
"HIV doesn't infect other animals besides primates ... That animal model is very important for advancing this [research]," Ball said. "They play a very big role in terms of our ability to combat the disease which kills 60 million people worldwide. It'd be great if we could do all the experiments in mice but mice don't get HIV."

 
 
 
 
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