Small Magnetite-Containing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (SMART) Nanoparticles

This invention is an approach for the delivery of anti-viral drugs in the form of dispersed nanoparticles. The invention consists of magnetite-polymer complexes with well-defined compositions, narrow size distributions, colloidal stability in physiological media, and transverse relaxivities comparable to or better than those of commercially available magnetite-based contrast agents. These polymer nanoparticle systems are referred to as small magnetite-containing anti-retroviral therapy (SMART). The magnetite nanoparticles incorporated into the SMART make it possible to track the nanoparticles using magnetic resonance imaging. This will greatly enhance the ultimate efficacy of treatment using SMART since it will be possible, for the first time, to determine quantitatively where the ART drugs are distributed, first in test animals and later in humans in a noninvasive manner. This could accelerate the pace of development of next-generation ART approaches and pharmaceutical formulations. The SMART nanoparticles are made with narrow size distributions which enables greater control of drug release rates from the nanoparticles and also greater control of uptake of the nanoparticles by cells and tissues. Finally, the SMART nanoparticles can be chemically functionalized to target specific cells for particle uptake.
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