Campbell Foundation Funding Leads to Significant Discoveries in AIDS Research

Grant provided by The Campbell Foundation in Fort Lauderdale helps scientists "break through" blood-brain barrier to treat the neurological complications of HIV.

What do a Fort Lauderdale-based foundation, a team of cutting edge researchers at a prestigious international university and a New York-based biotechnology company all have in common? They have successfully worked together to further develop a drug delivery system that can be used to treat the neurological complications of HIV.

New York-based Lauren Sciences LLC's Chairman and CEO Susan Rosenbaum recently was invited to speak about the breakthrough at the Fourth Annual Conference of the American Society for Nanomedicine in Rockville, Md.

Her presentation, "Product Development and Translations: From Cancer to HIV and Neuro-AIDS," described data from its leading programs including: Delivery of Tenofovir to the Brain by Novel Nanovesicles for the Treatment of Neuro-HIV (Supported by Fort Lauderdale-based The Campbell Foundation).

Thanks to a grant from The Campbell Foundation, a Lauren Sciences research team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel was able to overcome the "blood brain barrier" that prevents the HIV-fighting drug tenofovir from passing into the brain to fight the disease.

"The project was hugely successful and with the one-year grant we were able to show delivery of significant therapeutic quantities of tenofovir into the brain by intravenous administration," said Rosenbaum.

This system of synthetic nanoscale structures dubbed "V-SmartTM technology" allows both intravenous and oral medications to pass through biological barriers and makes it possible to target exactly where the drug will be released in the brain, making it more effective and reducing unwanted side effects.

"There are a lot of drug delivery systems out there, but there are none that get into the brain like this one," said The Campbell Foundation's Program Officer Ken Rapkin, who vets grant applications before sending them to its all-volunteer peer review board.

Without The Campbell Foundation's support this breakthrough in AIDS might never have occurred, noted Rosenbaum.

"The Campbell Foundation encourages early innovation. They provided the seed funding that allowed us to take our technology and develop it to the next level for HIV," Rosenbaum said.

The goal is to be able to begin efficacy studies in HIV mice this year and start clinical trials about two years after, noted Rosenbaum.

"If this works in humans, we have a new therapeutic for AIDS patients," she said.


About The Campbell Foundation
Based in Fort Lauderdale, The Campbell Foundation was established in 1986 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. In its 19th year, The Campbell Foundation has given away $9 million dollars, with about $1 million going to direct services.

About Lauren Sciences LLC
Lauren Sciences LLC is a privately held New York biotechnology company focused on developing a robust pipeline of V-Smart™ therapeutics, consisting of CNS-active drugs that normally do not cross the BBB, with its V-Smart™ drug delivery system. The company's lead programs are for neuro-HIV (supported by The Campbell Foundation) and Parkinson's disease (supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation). Additional pipeline programs include other CNS disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, ALS, GBM and LSDs, among others. The company's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Eliahu Heldman, is Professor Emeritus at Ben-Gurion University, Israel where he, with Dr. Sarina Grinberg and Dr. Charles Linder, developed the V-Smart™ nanovesicle platform technology and leads the Lauren Sciences research team. V-SmartTM can: encapsulate drugs (including small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids), cross BBB (and other membranes), target sites in brain (and elsewhere), selectively release drug at target sites and be administered systemically.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Established in 1969 with the mandate to bring development to the Negev region, BGU is internationally recognized for its unique pioneering spirit that combines outstanding academics and research with a commitment to the community. With more than 20,000 students, five faculties and a number of internationally-acclaimed research institutes, the University has become a world leader in interdisciplinary research in cutting-edge fields that range from desert studies to nano- and biotechnology, Hebrew literature to international medicine.