Bill Venuti (left) and Ken Rapkin of the Campbell Founation, which has funded 126 sets of studies around the world with $9 million since 1995. Photo courtesy of the Campbell Foundation.

With money from Fort Lauderdale’s The Campbell Foundation, a New York-based research team stationed 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 cash comes from Campbell, which prides itself on funding “alternative and non-traditional” avenues of research toward curing AIDS — it’s given more than $9 million to AIDS focused research since its founding in 1995. The money went to New York-based Lauren Sciences. Lauren has a team of researchers in Israel working at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Lauren’s CEO, Susan Rosenbaum, spoke at the Fourth Annual Conference of the American Society for Nanomedicine in late March. Among her other projects, she announced the breakthrough in her presentation “Product Development and Translations: From Cancer to HIV and Neuro-AIDS,” in which she described data from its leading programs including the delivery of Tenofovir to the brain by nanovesicles for the Treatment of Neuro-HIV.

“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. “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 plans to begin efficacy studies in mice this year and start clinical trials roughly two years after.

“If this works in humans, we have a new therapeutic [treatment] for AIDS patients,” she said.

It’s just another big deal in research that originates from our part of the world.

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

Campbell Foundation is named after Richard Campbell Zahn, the chemist who pioneered Herpecin-L lip balm. Since 1995, the foundation has funded 126 sets of studies around the world. Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) for example, ranked Campbell in the top 20th percentile of private philanthropic groups that focus on AIDS. The 25-year-old FCAA aims to “mobilize” philanthropic groups like Campbell by initiating them into action (and ranking them).

Visit CampbellFoundation.net for more information.