September 13, 2016
Woburn, Mass. – Aphios Corporation today announced that it plans to continue its research to develop a cure for HIV/AIDS using combination drugs in targeted ‘nanosomes’ nanoparticles with recent funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH.
Currently, about 35 million people have died from AIDS and there are about 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people are currently living with HIV and more than 40,000 new infections occur each year. There is no vaccine against HIV, and AIDS, if untreated, will lead to the death of over 95% of infected individuals 10 years post-infection. HIV infects several cell types during the course of infection and progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The persistence of latent HIV-infected cellular reservoirs represents the remaining major hurdle to virus eradication with current anti-retroviral therapy (cART), since latently infected cells remain a permanent source of viral reactivation. It has been hypothesized that intensification of cART could reduce the residual viremia but recent studies strongly suggest that this is not a likely scenario. Moreover, cART is problematic because of long-term toxicity, drug resistance, accelerated immune system aging and the inability to target and eliminate persistent viral reservoirs. Therefore, other pharmacological approaches targeting the HIV-1 reservoir have been suggested by several investigators as a promising strategy to develop new drugs able to activate latent HIV-1 without inducing global T cell-activation.
According to Dr. Trevor P. Castor, CEO and Principal Investigator on this research, “We plan to develop a unique combination therapy consisting of a protein kinase C (PKC) modulator and a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor in nanosomes to reactivate these latent HIV reservoirs so that HIV-1 can be eliminated by the body’s own immune system and/or cART and thus eradicated from the patient’s body. We plan to deliver these drugs to their targets at the same time using targeted, immunologically-spiked ‘nanosomes’ nanoparticles.” The research will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers with advise and support from Dr. Robert F. Siliciano, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute who will also provide support with respect to the ex vivo evaluation of the combination PKC-HDACi nanosomes; Dr. Eduardo Munoz, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Immunology, University of Cordoba, Spain, an HIV latency researcher and Scientific Advisor to Aphios Corporation; Dr. Santiago Moreno, M.D., Head, Infectious Diseases, Ramón y Cajal Hospital and Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain, an HIV clinician and Principal Investigator of a recently completed Phase I/IIa clinical trial of a PKC modulator for HIV latency in HIV patients on cART in Spain; and Dr. Joseph L. Bryant, D.V.M., Director, Division of Animal Models, Institute of Human Virology and Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, an HIV animal model expert, who will lead the in vivo toxicity and efficacy animal studies planned. Dr. Castor continues, “Our approach has the potential for advancing HIV therapy towards a sterilizing cure, which currently is out of reach of the HIV/AIDS community.”
About Aphios Corporation
Aphios (www.aphios.com) is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing green enabling technology platforms to improve drug discovery, manufacturing, nanotechnology drug delivery and pathogenic safety and, based on these platforms, enhanced therapeutics to improve quality-of-life and treat chronic diseases such as prostate and pancreatic cancers, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and Central Nervous System disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AI124819. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.