Recent research conducted by the Wender Group, consisting of 19 chemists as well as Stanford professor Paul Wender, could point to the existence of potential cure for HIV.
Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has prevented HIV from having a fatal effect for almost 20 years, it is burdened with a number of problems. The necessity for the treatment to be regularly administered not only brings about a number of negative side effects, but also makes HAART impractical for usage in Third World countries.
These issues arise from the fact that HAART does not succeed at eradicating the full virus; certain dormant forms are left behind, threatening to re-emerge if not constantly pushed back by the treatment.
The Wender Group’s goal was to synthesize a compound that would activate an enzyme called kinase C, which would in turn activate the latent forms of the virus and allow HAART to eliminate it entirely.
This synthetic compound — called a bryolog — was modeled after two naturally occurring compounds called prostratin and bryostatin 1, both of which were either too impotent or too difficult to obtain.
The group has now succeeded at this goal of creating a bryolog. This new compound has no apparent toxic effects and has a potency that is 25 to 1,000 times greater than that of prostratin. However, it is still in its preliminary stages and needs to undergo further development before it is ready to use on human subjects.
– Amrutha Dorai