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Coaxing HIV Out of Hiding with Clever Engineering

May 8th, 2008. By Dave Oei. 8,306 views.
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When it comes to combating HIV, doctors and scientists have an arsenal of drugs and regimens to choose from. Unfortunately, none are 100% effective because of the one sinister trait of HIV – it’s ability to hide and lay dormant in T-cells for years or decades.

Which is why flushing HIV out of T-cells has been on the forefront of medical science for years. Through experimentation it’s been shown that two naturally occurring plant compounds, Prostratin and DPP, in combination with other drugs are able to push HIV out of T-cells with about 80% efficacy. Sure, it’s not 100%, but experimentation had been hampered by the availability of these compounds.

They come from scarcely found plants from far away places and produce variable yet meager quantities of these valuable compounds. In other words, they must be extremely expensive and hard to come by.

Fortunately, there are real people out there who actually performed very well in Organic Chemistry. And it is they who come to this story’s rescue.

Stanford chemist Paul Wender and his fellow colleagues were able to devise a method to create prostratin and DPP in the laboratory, using nothing but materials that are easy to obtain in a method that is sustainable. To top it off, they detail the process of its creation and hint at areas in the process where the compounds may be tweaked or grossly modified to potentially produce the 100% effective HIV flusher.

So if you ever wondered where your studies of aromatic hydrocarbons were going, this is a great example of a noble cause.

And with over 30 million people in the world living with HIV today, let’s hope they (and possibly you) get to a solution soon.

Source: Stanford
Photo: AIDS Information, Switzerland

Biology, Chemistry, Medicine

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  1. June 8th, 2012 at 08:04 | #1
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