John Garner

mPEG-PLGA from PolySciTech used in development of anti-viral loaded semen-responsive nanofibers to prevent the spread of HIV

Blog Post created by John Garner on May 1, 2018

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HIV and other sexual diseases remain incurable and are increasing in prevalence as they spread through sexual interaction. Griffithsin, an antiviral agent, has promise to prevent the spread of these, but is short-acting and susceptible to break down. Recently, researchers at the University of Louisville used mPEG-PLGA (PolyVivo AK026) from PolySciTech ( to develop nanofibers which release Griffithsin when the vaginal pH increases in the presence of semen. This research holds promise to provide for preventing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Tyo, Kevin M., Jinghua Duan, Pravallika Kollipara, Mark Vincent C. dela Cerna, Donghan Lee, Kenneth E. Palmer, and Jill M. Steinbach-Rankins. "pH-Responsive delivery of Griffithsin from electrospun fibers." European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (2018).


“Abstract: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) affects over 36 million people globally. Current prevention strategies utilize antiretrovirals that have demonstrated protection, but result in antiviral resistance, adverse toxicity, and require frequent administration. A novel biologic, griffithsin (GRFT), has demonstrated outstanding safety and efficacy against laboratory and primary HIV isolates and against intravaginal murine herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) challenge, making it a promising microbicide candidate. However, transient activity and instability remain concerns surrounding biologic delivery, particularly in the harsh environment of the female reproductive tract (FRT). Recently, electrospun fibers (EFs) have demonstrated promise for intravaginal delivery, with the potential to conserve active agent until release is needed. The goal of this study was to fabricate and characterize pH-responsive fibers comprised of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) or methoxypolyethylene glycol-b-PLGA (mPEG-PLGA) with varying ratios of poly(n-butyl acrylate-co-acrylic acid) (PBA-co-PAA), to selectively release GRFT under pH-conditions that mimic semen introduction. Fibers comprised of mPEG-PLGA:PBA-co-PAA (90:10 w/w) demonstrated high GRFT loading that was maintained within simulated vaginal fluid (SVF), and pH-dependent release upon exposure to buffered and SVF:simulated semen solutions. Moreover, GRFT fibers demonstrated potent in vitro efficacy against HIV-1 and safety in vaginal epithelial cells, suggesting their future potential for efficacious biologic delivery to the FRT. Keywords: Griffithsin (GRFT)Electrospun fiber Microbicide Protein delivery Sexually transmitted infection (STI)Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)pH-responsive Female reproductive”


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