Sunday, August 22, 2010

Researchers Identify Two FDA Approved Drugs (Decitabine and Gemcitabine) That May Fight HIV....

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center have identified two drugs (Decitabine and Gemcitabine see structures)  that when combined, may serve as an effective treatment for HIV.

The researchers found that, two drugs, decitabine (left) and gemcitabine (below) (both FDA approved and currently used in pre-cancer and cancer therapy) were found to eliminate HIV infection in the mouse model by causing the virus to mutate itself to death an outcome researchers dubbed "lethal mutagenesis." Interestingly, this is for the first time that, this novel approach has been used to attack the deadly virus without causing toxic side effects. As the drugs are already approved for other purpose, it will be much easier to expedite the development of the drugs for human use.

"The findings provide hope that such an approach will someday help the 33 million people worldwide who currently live with HIV," Mansky said.

HIV mutates and evolves quickly. Rather than inhibiting virus growth and replication like current HIV drugs, this new drug combination forces the virus to do just the opposite evolve beyond control, to the point of extinction.

The lead researcher claims that HIV's ability to mutate makes it difficult to target and treat, and they wanted to take advantage of this behavior by stimulating HIV's mutation rate, essentially using the virus as a weapon against itself.

Researchers found that the drug concentrations needed to eliminate HIV infection cause no measureable cell toxicity and were effective against HIV cultures at concentrations well below the current levels used for cancer treatment.

Gemcitabine and decitabine have been administered in pre-clinical trials with mice. Initial findings confirm that the drugs are an effective antiviral therapy for HIV. And now the researchers are now in the process of modifying the drugs to forms that can be absorbed by the human body when taken orally.

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