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Dissolvable fabric loaded with medicine might offer faster protection against HIV
Date:7/30/2014

Soon, protection from HIV infection could be as simple as inserting a medicated, disappearing fabric minutes before having sex.

University of Washington bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other topical materials such as gels or creams.

"This could offer women a potentially more effective, discreet way to protect themselves from HIV infection by inserting the drug-loaded materials into the vagina before sex," said Cameron Ball, a UW doctoral student in bioengineering and lead author on a paper in the August issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The UW team, led by bioengineering assistant professor Kim Woodrow, previously found that electrically spun cloth could be dissolved to release drugs. These new results build upon that research, showing that the fiber materials can hold 10 times the concentration of medicine as anti-HIV gels currently under development.

Oral pills are used in the U.S. for people who are considered at risk for HIV infection, and topical medications in the form of gels and films are just starting to be developed. These products would be placed inside the vagina before sexual intercourse, allowing the drug to dissolve and diffuse into the surrounding tissue. Called microbicides, the drugs must be given as a large dose to be effective minutes before sex.

But these topical drugs haven't done well in clinical trials, partly because they aren't always easy for women to use. Drugs in film form take at least 15 minutes to fully dissolve in the body, and the volume of gels must be large enough to deliver a full dose but small enough to prevent leakage. These factors can make microbicides difficult for a woman to use before sex, researchers sa
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Contact: Michelle Ma
mcma@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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