Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The future of HIV therapeutics is brightening

30.08.2004


Nature Immunology commentary highlights promising advances in the field Recent discoveries about the way that HIV infects cells are propelling the development of a broad spectrum of promising new antiviral drugs, according to an invited commentary on the topic in the current issue of Nature Immunology (August 27, 2004).

The assessment is made by Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) Director Warner Greene, MD, PhD, who also serves as professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at the University of California, San Francisco.

In the piece, Greene points out that basic research on HIV, a relatively simple pathogen with only nine genes encoding 15 proteins, are leading to compelling new therapies that deny the initial entry of HIV into its cellular host. In addition, fast-moving research of naturally occurring factors with potent antiviral properties is opening the way for future development of an entirely new class of anti-HIV drugs.



New agents that block the first step in HIV’s life cycle, the entry of the HIV virion (a single virus particle) into host CD4 T-cells, are quickly moving down the drug development pipeline. Chief among these therapeutics are drugs known as chemokine receptor antagonists that interfere with HIV’s ability to bind to CCR5, one of two key surface receptors needed for the virus to penetrate the cell. Although these HIV co-receptors were identified only seven years ago, basic studies performed by both GIVI investigators and scientists around the world have helped accelerate clinical development of CCR5 antagonists as a new class of anti-HIV drugs. Several major pharmaceutical companies are now racing to the finishing line.

These advances address but one of the three steps required for successful entry of the HIV virus. The other two steps involve the attachment of HIV virions to surface CD4 receptors and the final fusion of virions to target cells. These steps are also being targeted with new antiviral drugs. Combinations of inhibitors acting at each of the three steps in the viral entry sequence could soon form a new "triple cocktail" therapy for HIV-infected patients.

Prospects in the longer term are also bright, with the recent discovery of natural antiviral factors that are very active against specific forms of HIV. "The single most exciting new area of HIV basic research with strong therapeutic implications involves a host-encoded antiviral factor, APOBEC3G," explains Greene. "We all produce this factor. It’s quite potent, and it can halt the growth of HIV dead in its tracks, provided the virus lacks its Vif, or viral infectivity factor, gene."

HIV attacks APOBEC3G through its Vif protein. GIVI scientists were the first to show that Vif not only targets intracellular APOBEC3G for accelerated destruction, but also impairs new production of this antiviral factor. Vif’s combined effects effectively overcome the antiviral action of APOBEC3G.

The fact that Vif must bind to APOBEC3G and recruit enzymes triggering APOBEC3G degradation provides an exciting window of opportunity for future drug development. The goal is to block the assembly or ensuing action of Vif on APOBEC3G, thereby preserving intracellular expression of APOBEC3G. GIVI scientists are now launching a search for small molecules that display these properties. If these molecules can be identified and successfully developed into drugs, they would unleash potent antiviral effects of APOBEC3G, even in the presence of Vif. "HIV biologists agree that the Vif-APOBEC3G axis forms the single most promising drug target since the discovery of chemokine receptors," explains Greene.

While the future of HIV therapeutics is brightening, it is essential that these drugs be made available in such areas of the world as Africa and Asia, where the virus continues to spread unchecked, concludes Greene. "Such an effort is required if we are to blunt the expanding global HIV epidemic in a truly meaningful way," he explains. "This will require commitment and investment by the world community not only for the key drugs but also for the infrastructure and training required to ensure their effective use."

John Watson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>