Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists show that HIV drugs can also target tropical parasites

New research in the FASEB Journal suggests the protein Ddi 1 from Leishmania parasites is sensitive to anti-HIV inhibitors and could be target for malaria and other parasitic diseases

Scientists have discovered that drugs used to treat HIV may also one day become lifesaving drugs targeted at parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis and malaria. According to new research published in The FASEB Journal (, scientists have identified the target of action for some anti-HIV drugs with known abilities to kill serious pathogenic parasites.

While scientists have long known that these HIV drugs can kill parasites, exactly how they work was previously unknown. Researchers discovered that a particular protein called Ddi 1 from Leishmania parasites is sensitive to anti-HIV inhibitors. This research could one day significantly change the treatment of parasitic diseases.

"People in developing countries can be exposed to parasitic diseases such as malaria and leishmaniasis that can kill millions of people, so new and effective drugs are urgently needed to combat these infections," said Colin Berry, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Cardiff School of Biosciences at Cardiff University in Cardiff in the United Kingdom. "The use of existing anti-HIV agents has indicated that there is a potential target in some parasites and by identifying the protein responsible, we hope to exploit this weakness in the parasite to develop new and effective therapeutics to combat these devastating diseases."

Scientists studied yeast that lacked the Ddi 1 protein and found that high levels of proteins were secreted. The addition of the Leishmania Ddi 1 protein returned the yeast to normal low secretion levels until HIV proteinase inhibitors were added. These inhibitors blocked the ability of Leishmania Ddi 1 to reduce secretions and showed that the Ddi 1 protein interacted with the drugs. Additionally, when researchers used human Ddi 1, they identified drugs that were good at blocking the activity of the Leishmania protein, but which were much weaker against the human equivalent, suggesting that possible side effects in a future drug could be reduced. Study data support the potential use of this class of compounds for leishmaniasis, but do not yet support the use of existing marketed compounds in a clinical context. The potency of the existing compounds indicates that they may be a useful start point for further exploratory chemistry.

"Like HIV, parasitic diseases have been and still are a serious threat to human health world-wide," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Millions die each year from these maladies and we desperately need new drugs. How fortuitous that agents designed against one killer, HIV, may now be turned against parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis and malaria."

Receive monthly highlights from the FASEB Journal by e-mail. Sign up at The FASEB Journal ( is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The journal has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century and is the most cited biology journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information.

FASEB comprises 23 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of scientists and engineers to improve—through their research—the health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEB's mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Details: Rhian E. White, David J. Powell, and Colin Berry. HIV proteinase inhibitors target the Ddi1-like protein of Leishmania parasites. FASEB J May 2011 25:1729-1736; doi:10.1096/fj.10-178947 ;

Cody Mooneyhan | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

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 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>