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Long-acting combination anti-HIV drug suspension enhances and sustains higher drug levels in lymph node cells than in blood cells and plasma

Kraft, John C.; McConnachie, Lisa A.; Koehn, Josefin; Kinman, Loren; Collins, Carol; Shen, Danny D.; Collier, Ann C.; Ho, Rodney J.Y.

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001405
Basic Science: Concise Communication

Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine whether a combination of anti-HIV drugs – tenofovir (TFV), lopinavir (LPV) and ritonavir (RTV) – in a lipid-stabilized nanosuspension (called TLC-ART101) could enhance and sustain intracellular drug levels and exposures in lymph node and blood cells above those in plasma.

Design: Four macaques were given a single dose of TLC-ART101 subcutaneously. Drug concentrations in plasma and mononuclear cells of the blood (PBMCs) and lymph nodes (LNMCs) were analysed using a validated combination LC-MS/MS assay.

Results: For the two active drugs (TFV, LPV), plasma and PBMC intracellular drug levels persisted for over 2 weeks; PBMC drug exposures were three- to four-fold higher than those in plasma. Apparent terminal half-lives (t1/2) of TFV and LPV were 65.3 and 476.9 h in plasma, and 169.1 and 151.2 h in PBMCs. At 24 and 192 h, TFV and LPV drug levels in LNMCs were up to 79-fold higher than those in PBMCs. Analysis of PBMC intracellular TFV and its active metabolite TFV-diphosphate (TFV-DP) indicated that intracellular exposures of total TFV and TFV-DP were markedly higher and persisted longer than in humans and macaques dosed with oral TFV prodrugs, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) or tenofovir alafenamide (TAF).

Conclusions: A simple, scalable three-drug combination, lipid-stabilized nanosuspension exhibited persistent drug levels in cells of lymph nodes and the blood (HIV host cells) and in plasma. With appropriate dose adjustment, TLC-ART101 may be a useful HIV treatment with a potential to impact residual virus in lymph nodes.

aDepartment of Pharmaceutics

bDepartment of Medicine

cCenter for AIDS Research

dDepartment of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Correspondence to Rodney J.Y. Ho, PhD, Box 357610, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-357610, USA. Tel: +1 206 543 3796; fax: +1 206 543 3204; e-mail:

Received 23 November, 2016

Revised 13 December, 2016

Accepted 28 December, 2016

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