Systems Approach to targeted and long-acting HIV/AIDS therapy
Medication adherence and insufficient drug levels are central to HIV/AIDS disease progression. Recently, Fletcher et al. confirmed that HIV patients on oral antiretroviral therapy had lower intracellular drug concentrations in lymph nodes than in blood. For instance, in the same patient, multiple lymph node drug concentrations were as much as 99 % lower than in blood. This study built upon our previous finding that HIV patients taking oral indinavir had 3-fold lower mononuclear cell drug concentrations in lymph nodes than in blood. As a result, an association between insufficient lymph node drug concentrations in cells and persistent viral replication has now been validated. Lymph node cells, particularly CD4 T lymphocytes, host HIV infection and persistence; CD4 T cell depletion in blood correlates with AIDS progression. With established drug targets to overcome drug insufficiency in lymphoid cells and tissues, we have developed and employed a “Systems Approach” to engineer multi-drug-incorporated particles for HIV treatment. The goal is to improve lymphatic HIV drug exposure to eliminate HIV drug insufficiency and disease progression.