“Sustained release and stability to high temperatures of HIV inhibitors by encapsulation in silk fibroin disks”
Li Zhang, Carolina Herrera, Jeannine Coburn, Natalia Olejniczak, Paul Ziprin, David Kaplan, and Patricia J. LiWang ACS:Biomaterials 3 1654-1665 doi 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.7b00167 (2017).
Topical microbicides have the potential to provide effective protection against sexual transmission of HIV. Challenges in developing microbicides include their application in resource-poor settings with high temperatures and a lack of refrigeration, and low user adherence to a rigorous daily regimen. Several protein-based HIV inhibitors show great promise as microbicides, being highly specific and not expected to lead to resistance that would affect the efficacy of current antiretroviral treatments. We show that four potent protein HIV inhibitors, 5P12-RANTES, 5P12-RANTES-L-C37, Grft, and Grft-L-C37 can be formulated into silk fibroin (SF) disks and remain functional for 14 months at 25, 37, and 50 °C. These HIV inhibitor-encapsulated SF disks show excellent inhibition properties in PBMC and in human colorectal and cervical tissue explants, and do not induce inflammatory cytokine secretion. Further, the SF provides a mechanically robust matrix with versatile material formats for this type of application. Finally, a formulation was developed to allow sustained release of functional Grft for 4 weeks at levels sufficient to inhibit HIV transmission. This work establishes the suitability of HIV inhibitor-encapsulated SF disks as topical HIV microbicides that can be further developed to allow easy insertion for extended protection.