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AIDS researchers discover a weak link in HIV-infected cells



A team of French biologists took another step towards their recent AIDS / HIV research. A group from Institut Pasteur selectively killed cells hiding HIV from antiretroviral drugs.

This could open doors for new drugs and new HIV treatments for infected people.

HIV returns to a person when it discontinues antiretroviral therapy. The virus hides in HIV-immune T cells. The French study published in a recent issue of Cell Metabolism stated that HIV infection often infects T cells with higher metabolic activity.

The researchers found that T cells with this higher metabolic activity – more prone to HIV infection ̵

1; often consume more nutrients. By blocking access of the cells to these nutrients, the team could avert metabolic activity and kill the cells without harming the other healthy T cells.

They used molecules to prevent T cells from metabolizing glucose, glutamine and fatty acids, destroying the "reservoirs" where HIV could lurk in a T cell.

"We have observed ex vivo that, thanks to certain metabolic inhibitors, the virus can no longer infect cells and stops gaining in reservoirs of patients receiving antiretroviral treatment," said study coordinator Asier Saez-Cirion.

The researchers hope that this can provide different types of effective treatments for HIV. Currently, HIV antiretroviral treatments need to be used for life, and these treatments can not get rid of the viral reservoirs themselves. It blocks HIV infection, but it can not remove the virus from the body.

Saez-Cirion found that some parts of the study were more promising than others.

"Glucose and glutamine inhibitors are more promising," Sáez-Cirión said in an interview with Labiotech . "Our in-lab tests examine different molecules to identify optimal combinations and the best strategy for using these molecules in vivo. Then we expect small preclinical and clinical trials with proof-of-concept.

Current HIV treatments involve one to three pills a day. It is also important to take the medication properly so that the virus does not become resistant to the drug.

There are five major categories of anti-HIV drugs: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs or "nuances"), n on-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs or "non-nuclei") , Integrase inhibitors, protease inhibitors (PIs) and entry inhibitors.

French research may one day lead to a completely new classification of these drugs or to adjustments in the way they work.


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