Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Vaginal gel with bee venom lowers transmission of HIV

Abstract:
A recent discovery that a vaginal gel consisting of nanoparticles carrying bee venom can serve both for contraception and for HIV prevention won a grant from the Gates Foundation.

by Jack Marshall Staff Reporter

Vaginal gel with bee venom lowers transmission of HIV

Saint Louis, MO | Posted on November 19th, 2010

The gel is especially promising for improving sexual health because it caters to women. This differs from condoms, which have been the number-one choice to prevent the spread of HIV but depend heavily on male participation and willingness to use them.

"This gel gives women an opportunity to empower themselves to prevent HIV and pregnancy with a product they can use themselves," said Bradley Stoner, associate professor of anthropology.

The idea came from Sam Wickline, a professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine. Wickline is one of 65 scientists to participate in the 2010 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant program, a $100 million program sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Grand Challenges Explorations Grant traditionally rewards projects that result from unorthodox thinking and innovative ideas to aid in the fight against global health problems.

"Sperm and HIV are remarkably similar in their natural mechanism of genetic transmission," Wickline said in a news release. "Both need to fuse with their target cell in order to deliver their genetic payloads—DNA in the case of sperm, and RNA in the case of HIV."

And even though the gel is not as familiar to people as are condoms, Stoner thinks that people can be educated easily about its use.

"There have been some recent trials of intravaginal microbicide gels that prevent against HIV and other STDs, and they've been found to be well accepted by women, so this is also something that could be implemented probably with great success," Stoner said.

Though research on the gel is still in early stages, Stoner hopes that the gel will be affordable.

"If researchers are able to prove that this works and that it can be manufactured on a large scale, I hope that price would go down to supportable levels," Stoner said.

According to Wickline, the gel contains a "Trojan Horse," a lipid nanoparticle developed by Wickline and Gregory Lanza, a professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, and biology and biomedical sciences at the medical school, that attracts the sperm and HIV before destroying it using the bee toxin.

"The idea is to trick each [agent] to fuse with a synthetic Trojan horse—a nanoparticle that will overwhelm sperm and HIV in numbers and in destructive power," Wickline said.

The bee toxin, known as melittin, comes from the honeybee Apis mellifera. The method has been shown to be safe for clinical use.

"Cells readily take in melittin," Wickline said. "But once it gets in, it pokes holes in cell membranes to destroy the cells."

The Gates Foundation launched the Grand Challenges Explorations Grant program in 2003 as a way to find new solutions to health problems that have not been solved adequately by traditional means. Scientists can apply for the Explorations program online and receive news about whether their idea has been chosen for a $100,000 grant approximately four months after the submission deadline. The foundation gives grants of $100,000 twice a year, while successful projects can receive an additional grant of $1 million and become part of the Grand Challenges project, as Wickline's project has. According to the Grand Challenges website, the Gates Foundation has given grants to 405 researchers from 34 countries.

Projects this year include another HIV vaginal contraceptive, developed by Nongnuj Tanphaichitr of the Ottawa Health Research Institute, which, according to the Grand Explorations website, will "research whether the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 can be used simultaneously as a contraceptive and an anti-HIV treatment."

In addition to Tanphaichitr's and Wickline's projects, 17 other projects fall under the "Create New Technologies for Contraception" topic. The 65 projects, announced on Nov. 9 as winners of Grand Challenges Explorations grants, fall under 12 categories.

"We believe this can succeed because both sperm and HIV are built to target, fuse and discharge their cargo," Wickline said in the news release. "Our nanoparticles are similarly built to target, fuse and deliver their cargo. These attributes will enable a process of mutual assured destruction in a sequestered biological environment."

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Washington University in St. Louis

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster December 8th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Possible Futures

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Researchers peer into atom-sized tunnels in hunt for better battery: May improve lithium ion for larger devices, like cars December 8th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Academic/Education

Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016

The University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria uses Deben tensile stages as an integral part of their computed tomography research and testing facility October 18th, 2016

Enterprise In Space Partners with Sketchfab and 3D Hubs for NewSpace Education October 13th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2016 Year End Results December 7th, 2016

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Announcements

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Researchers peer into atom-sized tunnels in hunt for better battery: May improve lithium ion for larger devices, like cars December 8th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Personal Care/Cosmetics

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Common nanoparticle has subtle effects on oxidative stress genes May 11th, 2016

NRL reveals novel uniform coating process of p-ALD April 21st, 2016

New ORNL method could unleash solar power potential March 16th, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2016 Year End Results December 7th, 2016

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Nanobiotix Provides Update on Global Development of Lead Product NBTXR3: Seven clinical trials across the world: More than 2/3 of STS patients recruited in the “act.in.sarc” Phase II/III trial: Phase I/II prostate cancer trial now recruiting in the U.S. November 28th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project