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HIV research accelerated

Burnet Institute

27 August, 2018

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Professor Gilda Tachedjian, Burnet Head of Life Sciences and the Retroviral Biology and Antivirals Laboratory

Burnet Institute’s research into the prevention of HIV-related infections has attracted valuable and welcome support from the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (VMRAF).

A grant valued at $100,000 will assist the Tachedjian Laboratory in partnership with Swinburne University, to develop a hydrogel-based intravaginal drug delivery device to address inflammation caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Burnet’s Head of Life Sciences and the Retroviral Biology and Antivirals Laboratory, Professor Gilda Tachedjian, is excited about the collaboration, lauding the technology Swinburne has developed.

The technology has the potential to promote a healthy vaginal microbiota and reduce inflammation, along with lowering the risk of infection from sexually transmitted infections.

“It’s a novel way to deliver lactic acid intravaginally with aim to normalise the vaginal microbiota and decrease cervicovaginal inflammation,” she said.

“It has broad applications and could [also] be used to treat HIV and STIs.”

BV results from a depletion of beneficial vaginal bacterial microbiota, and is associated with adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes including preterm delivery and miscarriage, low birth weight in infants and a higher risk of acquiring STIs including HIV.

It’s notoriously hard to treat, often requiring multiple courses of antibiotics and having a very high re-occurrence (40-60 percent).

Burnet’s work is helping to build upon Swinburne research into the development of hydrogel material, as well as its own work in discovering the anti-inflammatory properties of lactic acid.

“Bringing together Swinburne’s engineering expertise and our knowledge in the vaginal microbiome and discovery of a metabolite that good bacteria produce – makes this a model multidisciplinary project,” Professor Tachedjian said.

This project is one of 30 to receive funding from the Victorian Government’s AUD$3 million VMRAF for 2018, which aims to support new and evolving fields of world-class medical research.

This is the second successful VMRAF grant Burnet has received.

Burnet has been awarded a patent in the US for using lactic acid to decrease inflammation and to treat bacterial vaginosis.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Head of Life Sciences; Head of Tachedjian Laboratory (Retroviral Biology and Antivirals)

Telephone

+61392822256

Email

gilda.tachedjian@burnet.edu.au

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