Scientists found a new treatment strategy to starve the HIV virus to death, by blocking its nutrient and sugar pipeline.
HIV has an insatiable appetite for sweets, which is its Achilles’ heel, researchers from the Northwestern Medicine and Vanderbilt University discovered.
As the virus attacks an activated immune cell, it feeds on the cell’s sugar and nutrients in order to replicate and fuel its rampaging multiplication in the body.
Scientist’s discover the switch that triggers the immune cell’s ample sugar and nutrient pipeline. The switch was blocked by an experimental compound, so as to shut down the pipeline, resulting to starving of the HIV to death, rendering the virus incapable of replicating in human cells in vitro.
This discovery may have a connection for treatment of cancer, which has also a huge appetite for sugar and other nutrients located in the cell, which it feeds on to grow and spread.
“This compound can be the precursor for something that can be used in the future as part of a cocktail to treat HIV that improves on the effective medicines we have today,” Harry Taylor, the assistant professor of Medicine-Infectious Diseases said.
A type of immune cell (CD4+ T-cell) that is active, also means it responds to blood pathogens, is needed for HIV to grow. Activation increases the T-cell’s supplies of sugar and other critical nutrients needed for both cell and virus growth.
No one knew the first phase that signals a new activated T-cell to store up on sugar and other nutrients, until now. These nutrients convert into the building blocks of genetic material in order for the cell and the virus to grow.
Northwestern and Vanderbilt scientists reckoned that the first phase in supplying the T-cell’s storeroom involves turning on of a cell’s component dubbed phospholipase D1 (PLD1).
They utilized a trial compound to block PLD1 and cut the pipeline. It is believed to be the first time that scientists have targeted the ability of the virus to swipe the cell’s stockroom to inhibit its growth. The compound slackened also the propagation of the abnormally activated immune cells, the research study found.