Drug design success propels efforts to fight HIV with a combination of two FDA-approved drugs

August 30, 2013, University of Minnesota

A University of Minnesota research team featuring researchers from the Institute for Molecular Virology, School of Dentistry and Center for Drug Design has developed a new delivery system for a combination of two FDA approved drugs that may serve as an effective treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The discovery, which allows for a combination of decitabine and to be delivered in pill form, marks a major step forward in patient feasibility for the drugs, which previously had been available solely via injection or intravenous therapy (IV).

The study, coauthored by Christine Clouser, Ph.D., Laurent Bonnac, Ph.D., Louis Mansky, Ph.D., and Steven Patterson, Ph.D., can be found "online first" in the journal Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy.

"If you have a condition that requires you to take a medication everyday, as many patients with HIV do, you wouldn't want to have to take that medication via daily injection," said Steven Patterson, Ph.D., professor at the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota. "This finding is a big step in demonstrating this treatment could be taken as a pill, similar to other HIV drugs, and is suitable for eventual clinical translation."

University of Minnesota researchers first announced decitabine and gemcitabine could potentially combine to treat HIV in research published in August 2010. The drug combination was shown to work by lethal mutagenesis that could obliterate HIV by causing the virus to mutate to a point where it was no longer infectious. For some patients, HIV's ability to quickly mutate and evolve can result in drug resistance. For patients who have developed resistance to currently available HIV treatments, the decitabine-gemcitabine drug combination could prove an effective alternative and secondary line of defense.

In addition to a potentially effective treatment for humans with HIV, the combination also shows potential to treat cats with leukemia.

"There's still a lot of work that needs to be done to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this drug combination before human clinical trials can begin," said Patterson. "But we're optimistic that we're moving forward."

Explore further: New drug approved to treat HIV-1

Related Stories

New drug approved to treat HIV-1

August 13, 2013
(HealthDay)—Tivicay (dolutegravir) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat infection with HIV-1, a strain of the virus that causes AIDS.

Protease inhibitor resistance involves multiple stages of the HIV-1 life cycle

August 27, 2013
HIV-1 protease inhibitors are very effective antiviral drugs. These drugs target HIV-1 proteases, which are required for viral replication. Despite the success of protease inhibitors for suppressing HIV-1, some patients do ...

Plant-based compound may inhibit HIV

July 29, 2013
A compound found in soybeans may become an effective HIV treatment without the drug resistance issues faced by current therapies, according to new research by George Mason University researchers.

UNAIDS welcomes US approval of drug to stop HIV

July 17, 2012
The UN agency tasked with fighting AIDS on Tuesday welcomed the decision by the United States to allow the use of an HIV prevention pill for the first time.

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.