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Medical News

Plant-Based Compound May Inhibit HIV

August 2, 2013

Researchers at George Mason University (GMU) are in the early stages of experimenting with genistein, a compound in soybeans and other plants, as an effective HIV treatment.

Genistein is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which blocks cell communication. Normally, sensors on the cell's surface communicate with the cell's interior as well as with other cells. HIV tricks the surface sensors into sending signals to the interior that change the cell's structure and allow the virus to enter and infect it. According to Yuntao Wu, a professor with the GMU-based National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases and the Department of Molecular and Microbiology, genistein disrups this cellular deception that allows the virus to infect cells. This approach differs from that of antiretrovirals, which attack the virus itself. The researchers believe that manipulating the cell rather than the virus might be more successful in preventing

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