A multidisciplinary team of scientists from
The research team was led by Dr. Leonard
Their findings could lead to cancer treatments that are more effective with smaller doses and to therapies that could potentially eradicate the HIV virus.
The paper is the cover story of the
Over the years,
Another target was HIV/AIDS, which in recent years has gone from being a death sentence to a chronic disease as anti-retroviral drug cocktails have improved. However, for people with HIV/AIDS, health maintenance still requires that they take the drugs for life, because of a phenomenon called provirus latency within cellular reservoirs.
This means that despite the viral load, or blood level, of HIV being reduced to undetectable levels by the drugs, latent (inactive) virus still accumulates inside cells in pockets called cellular reservoirs. Because HIV drugs can only affect active viruses, these reservoirs of latent virus survive drug treatment. When anti-retroviral drugs are discontinued, the latent virus activates, increasing the viral load and essentially rekindling the HIV infection.
The challenge for Zack and Marsden was how to address those latent HIV cell reservoirs, which prevent HIV from being eradicated in treated patients. The researchers found that one way to eliminate the reservoirs was to activate the latent HIV, making it susceptible to antiviral drugs. They knew a drug called bryostatin 1 activated latent HIV in the laboratory, but the idea of giving it to patients was problematic because of its toxic side effects.
Zack and Marsden needed a way to deliver the drug while minimizing side effects, making it a perfect candidate for vault delivery.
"Because latent virus is untreatable, latent reservoirs are the chief impediment to curing HIV right now," said Zack, who also is a professor of medicine and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. "If we can activate the latent virus, essentially turning it on, we can treat it and eradicate it, thus curing the patient of HIV infection."
"These experiments demonstrate the novel ability of these vaults to encapsulate therapeutic compounds up to more than 2,000 molecules per single vault," said
TNS 30TagarumaMar-140822-4835538 30TagarumaMar
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