Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio have used a technique called phage display to identify and generate molecules for use in microbicide research and development, according to a study presented at the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Protection against HIV and Herpes is possible with the Experimental Microbicide include a range of products -- such as gels, films and sponges -- that could help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other.
For the study, Michael Lederman, director of Case's Center for AIDS Research, and colleagues used phage display to generate molecules that act like an experimental drug -- called PSC-RANTES -- that was found to block the vaginal transmission of SIV in monkeys. The drug also could be used in the development of a microbicide for use among humans, according to the Plain Dealer. PSC-RANTES closes molecular receptors that HIV uses to replicate, but its production is "incredibly expensive," according to the Plain Dealer.
Using phage display, the researchers identified and generated three molecules that prevented HIV from entering cells. Because the molecules occur naturally in the body, they can be produced at a lower cost compared with PSC-RANTES, the Plain Dealer reports.
The study also found that in addition to being antiviral agents, two of the molecules did not appear to produce any serious immunological reactions. The researchers will present the findings at a microbicide conference in India later this month and hope to attract funding for further research.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation