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

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: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Glacial engineering could limit sea-level rise, if we get our emissions under control

20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

Warning against hubris in CO2 removal

20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

Halfway mark for NOEMA, the super-telescope under construction

20.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>