Main | Sunday, March 21, 2010

Acne Drug Found To Work On HIV

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that the inexpensive acne drug minocycline works well to help suppress HIV replication, making it a potentially highly valuable addition to the HAART arsenal.
“The powerful advantage to using minocycline is that the virus appears less able to develop drug resistance because minocycline targets cellular pathways not viral proteins,” says Janice Clements, Ph.D., Mary Wallace Stanton Professor of Faculty Affairs, vice dean for faculty, and professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The big challenge clinicians deal with now in this country when treating HIV patients is keeping the virus locked in a dormant state,” Clements adds. “While HAART is really effective in keeping down active replication, minocycline is another arm of defense against the virus.” Unlike the drugs used in HAART which target the virus, minocycline homes in on, and adjusts T cells, major immune system agents and targets of HIV infection. According to Clements, minocycline reduces the ability of T cells to activate and proliferate, both steps crucial to HIV production and progression toward full blown AIDS.
Johns Hopkins says the drug will greatly advance the goal of making HIV+ patients non-infectious.

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