University of Utah develops 90-day intravaginal ring for HIV drug delivery

University of Utah, in collaboration with CONRAD, has developed an intravaginal ring that delivers water soluble drug, tenofovir (TFV), for 90 days to prevent HIV infection.

The intravaginal reservoir ring is composed in part of plastic tubing that absorbs water when placed in the body and delivers the AIDS-prevention drug readily.

Patrick Kiser, who led development of the ring at the University of Utah, along with his research group, has implanted the ring in a sheep to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the ring.

The study shows that the vaginal concentration of TFV in sheep using the new ring was able to deliver an AIDS-prevention drug for 90 days and is similar to or exceeds that of a short-lasting TFV vaginal gel, that was proven to be clinically effective at reducing the risk of HIV acquisition in women.

University of Utah bioengineering associate professor and lead researcher Patrick Kiser said the center anticipates that the new ring will be able to release a spectrum of drugs that currently cannot be delivered due to limitations of standard technology.

“This ring is a breakthrough design because it is highly adaptable to almost any drug; the amount of drug delivered each day is the same and the release rate can be modified easily if needed,” Kiser added.

Work is in progress to make the ring a multi-purpose prevention technology, with modifications being done to deliver an anti-HIV agent and a contraceptive such as levonorgestrel at the same time, according to University of Utah.