A nanochannel delivery implant (NDI) can deliver pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) antiretroviral (ARV) drugs subcutaneously, according to results published in the Journal of Controlled Release.

PrEP with ARVs can prevent HIV transmission effectively; however, issues with poor adherence, low accessibility, and multiple routes of HIV exposure present challenges. To combat these issues, the researchers developed a novel drug delivery device.

The NDI is a subcutaneously implantable device that delivers sustained and constant doses of tenofovir alafenamide and emtricitabine for HIV PrEP. It uses a silicon nanochannel membrane to control drug diffusion from the reservoir. Although many existing drug delivery implants have a finite dosage, the NDI has ports that allow for transcutaneous refills once the current medication is depleted.

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When the device was tested in rhesus macaques, the NDI achieved sustained release of both tenofovir alafenamide and emtricitabine for 83 days.

The researchers found that clinically relevant preventive levels of tenofovir diphosphate were present as early as 3 days after NDI implantation.

“Sustained release of ARVs via the NDI implant could eliminate PrEP drug adherence issues and tailor to the needs of populations with limited access to PrEP drugs, such as adolescents and people at risk of HIV infection living in low-income countries,” the researchers wrote.

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Because the NDI device is compatible with a wide array of drugs, it presents a novel treatment option that can be tested for a variety of treatments.


Chua CYX, Jain P, Ballerini A, et al. Transcutaneously refillable nanofluidic implant achieves sustained levels of tenofovir diphosphate for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. J Control Release. 2018;286:315-325.