Shoot and kill. Scientists target new molecule to eradicate most persistent HIV strain

HIV has long been playing the deadly game of hide-and-seek, but Tokyo researchers may have found a way to end this game and the disease forever in the future.

Medical News writes that a research team led by Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry in Japan has found a promising clue that suggests that the dreaded HIV, the virus responsible for the development of AIDS, may finally be eradicated.

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HIV-1, the most common type of virus, is incredibly resilient. First of all, because it is stored not only in the bloodstream, but in the cells of the body in a dormant or “hidden” state. While this does not allow the virus to cause immediate damage, it does make it immune to conventional drug therapy that only targets active viruses. Such “hide and seek” games are a major obstacle to the full cure of HIV.

However, a team in Japan has identified a molecule that can bring these latent viral reservoirs out of sluggishness into a state where they can be targeted by the body’s immune system and anti-HIV drugs. This approach is known as “shock and kill”. You shock hidden HIV reservoirs, causing them to become active, and then you kill them.

This strategy has previously been used with drugs known as delay rescue agents (LATs), but with limited success. Although they were able to reactivate the latent virus, they were not able to reduce the overall population of the latent virus reservoirs.

The drug YSE028 appeared. This molecule is derived from another type of molecule called DAG-lactone, which shows promise in the treatment of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers focused on developing a variant of YSE028 that could more effectively activate a protein known as protein kinase C (PKC), which can reverse latency in HIV-infected cells. The researchers named this variant “compound 2”, which exhibits an impressive delay-inverting ability almost ten times that of the original YSE028 molecule.

An interesting aspect of the study was the use of cells infected with a modified HIV-1 virus that emits a green glow when active. This glow was visible in the lab, making it easy to identify which cells were successfully activated by the compound.

While the results are promising, it is important to remember that this is a step forward, not a leap, towards a full cure for HIV-1. The study shows we can potentially improve our strategies to awaken and destroy hidden HIV reservoirs. The next phase of research will focus on developing these DAG-lactone derivatives and possibly combining them with other anti-HIV drugs and AVL. This is an exciting development in a long battle against a formidable foe.

As senior author Hirokazu Tümura explains, “Our data will be very informative for the development of DAG-lactone derivatives for PKC activation, which may be key to HIV therapy.” It seems that the future looks brighter and more hopeful for people suffering from this disease. In an evolutionary irony, the key to fighting HIV-1 may lie in its own survival mechanism.

Previously Focus He wrote that virologists are getting closer to curing HIV with a single injection. Researchers helped two macaques treated for simian immunodeficiency virus.

Moreover Focus He wrote that HIV lurks in people’s brains as well. The study showed a place where the virus could hide in the brains of patients with HIV.

Source: Focus


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