Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Development & evaluation of novel nanomedicines for the local prophylaxis of genital herpes
Research Summary: Genital herpes is one of the most prevalent, and persistent sexually transmitted viral infections and it affects almost 50 million individuals in the United States. The herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is predominantly responsible for genital herpes. However, in recent years, cases of HSV-1 mediated genital herpes have also been reported in the USA. Currently, there are no effective vaccines for the prevention of genital herpes. Furthermore, the treatment options for the genital herpes are limited to acyclovir and its prodrugs or derivatives. The emergence of resistant viral strains to the current anti-HSV drugs and the lack of urgency to develop new drugs for the prevention and treatment of genital herpes highlight the need to repurpose and reformulate existing drugs for the prevention and/or treatment of genital herpes. Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse-transcriptase inhibitor, widely used for the treatment of HIV-1 infections. Recent studies indicate that tenofovir can also specifically target HSV DNA polymerase. Interestingly, CAPRISA-004 clinical trial showed that vaginal delivery of 1% tenofovir gel led to a 51% reduction in the acquisition of genital herpes infection.
The objective of this study is to repurpose tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), an FDA-approved tenofovir prodrug, for the prevention and treatment of genital herpes. Furthermore, the project will also involve the reformulation of TDF into nanomedicines with the help of FDA-approved polymers with inherent anti-HSV activity to improve vaginal delivery, stability, and efficacy of TDF for the prevention and/or treatment of genital herpes.