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Waking Up Dormant HIV

Date:
March 18, 2009
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
A chemical called suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, recently approved by the FDA as a leukemia drug, has now been shown to "turn on" latent HIV, making it an attractive candidate to weed out the dormant viruses that HAART treatment misses.

HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy) has emerged as an extremely effective HIV treatment that keeps virus levels almost undetectable; however, HAART can never truly eradicate the virus as some HIV always remains dormant in cells. But, a chemical called suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), recently approved as a leukemia drug, has now been shown to 'turn on' latent HIV, making it an attractive candidate to weed out the hidden virus that HAART misses.

Matija Peterlin at UCSF and colleagues had previously identified another chemical called HMBA that could activate latent HIV, but the risk of several toxic side effects made HMBA clinically non-viable. However, the chemically similar SAHA had received FDA approval, making it a potentially safer alternate.

So, the researchers examined whether SAHA had any effect on HIV latency. They found that SAHA could indeed stimulate latent HIV to begin replicating, which exposes the infected cell to HAART drugs. SAHA could activate HIV in both laboratory cells as well as from blood samples taken from HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy. Importantly, this successful activation was achieved using clinical doses of SAHA, suggesting toxicity will not be a problem.

This study appeared in the March 13 issue of Journal of Biological Chemistry


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Contreras et al. Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid Reactivates HIV from Latently Infected Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 284 (11): 6782 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M807898200

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Waking Up Dormant HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316120848.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2009, March 18). Waking Up Dormant HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316120848.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Waking Up Dormant HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316120848.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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