University of Central Florida Research Yields Link that Could Prevent HIV
April 30, 2009
A research team led by Alexander Cole of the University of Central Florida has discovered that using antibiotics to revive a dormant gene produces a protein that resists HIV.
Working with colleagues at the Department of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles, Cole noted that similar retrocyclin proteins found in primates appeared to prevent HIV infections in cell cultures. The same gene found in primates exists in humans but does not produce the protein.
The team applied aminoglycosides, drugs used to treat bacterial infections, to vaginal tissues and cervical cells, which prompted those cells and tissues to produce retrocyclins on their own, and these appeared to prevent the transmission of HIV. "That was our 'Eureka!' moment," said Cole.
"There is a good chance the aminoglycosides antibiotics will be used in a topical cream as a way to prevent the transmission of HIV from men to women," Cole said.
However, Cole cautioned that a peer review, clinical trials, and other work remain. "This is still a promising find," he said. "And we will be moving forward with this -- full steam ahead."
The three-year study, "Reawakening Retrocyclins: Ancestral Human Defenses Active Against HIV-1," was published in the online journal Public Library of Science Biology (2009;7(4):e95 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000095).
04.28.2009; Fernando Quintero
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.