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Intravaginal Ring to Prevent AIDS?

The experimental intravaginal ring in the center of this image was developed at the University of Utah to deliver an AIDS-prevention drug, tenofovir, for 90 days, which it did successfully when implanted in sheep. Also shown are two other intravaginal rings that now are commercially available: on the left, the Estring, which delivers estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopausal women, and on the right, NuvaRing, once-monthly contraceptive ring. Each ring is about two inches in diameter.

Oct. 16, 2012 – University of Utah bioengineers developed an intravaginal ring that, when implanted in sheep, was able to deliver an AIDS-prevention drug for 90 days at a dose already shown to reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus transmission in women.

Patrick Kiser, an associate professor of bioengineering, led the study, which he will present Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Chicago during the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. The following embargoed news release was issued by the AAPS:



— McCormick Place convention center press room, Room W182, Chicago, only during Oct. 14–18, 2012 – 312-949-8653.
— Hillarie Turner and Dana Korsen, public relations for AAPS – 202-296-2002, cellular 202-744-1746, (Turner available via cell only Oct. 14-18)
— Kimberly Brown, AAPS – 703-248-4772, cellular 202-498-2601, (Brown available only via cell Oct. 14-18.)

Novel Intravaginal Ring Shows Promise in HIV Prevention

ARLINGTON, Va. – A new 90-day intravaginal ring has been developed – that for the first timeenables  the long-lasting vaginal delivery of tenofovir (TFV), the only topical prophylactic shown to be effective at reducing the sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when formulated in a short-lasting gel. This research is being presented at the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 14-18.

Lead researcher Patrick Kiser and colleagues from the University of Utah, in collaboration with CONRAD, a leading reproductive health research organization, created a novel reservoir ring composed in part of plastic tubing that absorbs water when placed in the body. Conventional ring technology, developed in the 1970s, is inadequate in delivering water-soluble drugs such as TFV.  This new design allows for large quantities of TFV to be delivered for up to 90 days, at doses expected to prevent HIV infection.

“We anticipate that this next-generation ring will be able to release a spectrum of drugs that currently cannot be delivered due to limitations of standard technology,” said Kiser, who led development of the ring at the University of Utah. “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’s research group shows that the vaginal concentration of TFV in sheep using the new ring 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.  This ring can also be readily modified to deliver an anti-HIV agent and a contraceptive at the same time, making it a multi-purpose prevention technology. Work is in progress to do just that, as the group has recently developed a ring to co-deliver TFV and the hormonal contraceptive levonorgestrel (LNG).

The 2012 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition, the world’s largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting, improves global health through advances in pharmaceutical sciences. The meeting features more than 90 programming sessions, including more than 50 symposia and roundtables.

Editor’s Note: All press must provide press credentials to attend this meeting. The deadline for online media registration is Oct. 5.  After that date, media must register on-site. For media registration, please contact Kimberly Brown at or (703) 248-4772. To schedule an interview with Patrick Kiser or for any other press inquiry, please contact Hillarie Turner or Dana Korsen at or 202-296-2002.

About AAPS: The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional, scientific society of approximately 11,000 members employed in academia, industry, government and other research institutes worldwide. Founded in 1986, AAPS provides a dynamic international forum for the exchange of knowledge among scientists to serve the public and enhance their contributions to health. AAPS offers timely scientific programs, on-going education, information resources, opportunities for networking, and professional development. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @AAPSComms; official Twitter hashtag for the meeting is: #AAPS2012.