Innovative ways to cure vaginal infections

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the most common vaginal infections, affecting nearly one in three women ages 15-44. While women with BV often don’t notice any symptoms, it significantly increases the risk of other sexually transmitted infections like HIV. BV during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth. Approaches to treating BV haven't changed in several decades, and recurrence rates are high even following successful treatment.

Lactobacillus crispatus
The UCSF Bixby Center is investigating innovative ways to treat BV. Partnering with the biotechnology firm Osel, Inc. – with support from Social & Scientific Systems and the National Institutes of Health – we've launched a clinical trial of a product aimed at preventing BV. Because the antibiotics used to treat BV also affect beneficial bacteria, they can lead to repeat infections. Our experimental product, called LACTIN-V, contains Lactobacillus, a naturally occurring vaginal bacteria present in healthy women. The goal is to restore vaginal bacteria to a healthy balance and prevent recurrence of BV.

The study, conducted at four centers nationwide including UCSF, will include more than 200 women and follow them over time. “If LACTIN-V is proven to work, clinicians will finally have an improved therapy to prevent BV for their patients,” said Bixby’s Dr. Craig Cohen, clinical lead for the trial. Dr. Anke Hemmerling is a co-investigator and adds that “LACTIN-V is the first vaginal Lactobacillus product tested in an advanced clinical study. It has the potential to prevent not only BV, but also reduce other STIs and preterm birth.”

For more information, visit the study website.