A new delivery system for a combo of two FDA approved drugs to treat HIV has been successfully developed by a research team.
The discovery, which allows for a combination of decitabine and gemcitabine to be delivered in pill form, marks a major step forward in patient feasibility for the drugs, which previously had been available solely via injection or intravenous therapy (IV).
Steven Patterson, Ph.D., professor at the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota, said that if a person has a condition that requires them to take a medication everyday, as many patients with HIV do, they wouldn't want to have to take that medication via daily injection.
University of Minnesota researchers first announced decitabine and gemcitabine could potentially combine to treat HIV in research published in August 2010.
The drug combination was shown to work by lethal mutagenesis that could obliterate HIV by causing the virus to mutate to a point where it was no longer infectious. For some patients, HIV's ability to quickly mutate and evolve can result in drug resistance.
For patients who have developed resistance to currently available HIV treatments, the decitabine-gemcitabine drug combination could prove an effective alternative and secondary line of defense.
In addition to a potentially effective treatment for humans with HIV, the combination also shows potential to treat cats with leukemia.
The study has been published online in the journal Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy.