Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Designer Molecules – Engineering a Better Approach to HIV Treatment

20.05.2003


Ravi Kane Receives Grant From the National Institutes of Health



Ravi Kane, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is designing brand-new molecules that may one day fend off an HIV infection. Bolstering the body’s molecular defenses is a novel method that may lead to highly effective treatments for HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Kane has received a two-year, $150,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health, to pursue research into this promising HIV treatment.


The Trouble With Today’s Treatments

Today’s FDA-approved HIV treatments take aim at the virus itself. Drugs used in the standard “cocktail” regimens, including reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors, are intended to disable HIV at two stages in its replication process. Such treatments are undoubtedly lifesaving for many people; however, they deliver varying success due to the ongoing emergence of resistant HIV strains. These drugs are also expensive and lead to a host of side-effects, including lipodystrophy (abnormal fat accumulation or loss in certain parts of the body) and dangerously high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

A New Approach: Defensive Maneuvers

Kane’s research team at Rensselaer, and Albany Medical Center collaborators Kathy Stellrecht and Dennis Metzger, are trying a different approach. The Rensselaer team is designing molecules that block the particular receptors (located on human cells) that act as the docking sites where the majority of HIV strains make their first attempt at infiltration. These receptors are present all over the cell surface, requiring a molecule with a “multi-armed” (or multivalent) structure to do the best job of preventing a virus from docking.

“Multivalency allows us to block more than one receptor with each molecule,” says Kane. “This approach has the potential to be very effective – in fact, orders of magnitude more effective than any existing treatment.”

There are multiple benefits to treating HIV by blocking its entrance to human cells. In contrast to the constantly mutating virus cells, the human receptors are stable and do not change over time, making development of resistance to a blocking drug unlikely. In addition, the new entry inhibitors may be extremely effective without any dangerous side-effects. People with a genetic defect (a natural blockage) in this receptor show immunity to HIV infection, but are otherwise normal. The researchers admit that this preliminary research is very exciting; however, further study and testing will be needed to develop a viable treatment.

“We hope the next two years of work will form the basis of a more detailed grant in the future,” says Kane.

About Rensselaer
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The school offers degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty members are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of research centers that are characterized by strong industry partnerships. The Institute is especially well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

Joely Johnson | Rensselaer News
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu/web/News/press_releases/2003/kane.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>