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  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Use of the Synthetic Copolymer PSMA as a Component in a Combination Microbicide Active Against HIV-1

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 2,
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  • 1 and
  • 1Email author
Retrovirology20052 (Suppl 1) :S96

  • Published:


  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Polyethylene
  • Active Ingredient
  • Optimal Combination
  • Virus Type

The remarkable successes achieved using combination therapy to treat systemic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection suggest that combination microbicides, which include two or more active ingredients, may also provide a particularly effective means to prevent HIV-1 transmission. We have recently identified the compound PSMA, an alternating copolymer of polystyrene (PS) and maleic anhydride (MA), as a potential partner for our candidate microbicide polyethylene hexamethylene biguanide (PEHMB), a member of the polybiguanide family of compounds. In vitro studies of PSMA demonstrated that this compound is minimally cytotoxic and highly effective against both macrophage- and T cell-tropic strains of HIV-1. We hypothesize that the dissimilar mechanisms of action of PSMA and PEHMB may provide additive or synergistic activity against HIV-1. Experiments are now underway to identify optimal combinations of PSMA and PEHMB to be used in experiments to assess toxicity, anti-HIV-1 activity, and formulation strategies. These investigations will be used to confidently advance the preclinical development of PSMA and a combination microbicide containing both compounds toward human trials.


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Novaflux Biosciences, Inc., Princeton, NJ, USA


© The Author(s) 2005