Medindia

X

Sunflowers Could Hold the Key to New Class of AIDS Drugs

by Medindia Content Team on  January 11, 2006 at 6:52 PM AIDS/HIV News   - G J E 4
Sunflowers Could Hold the Key to New Class of AIDS Drugs
Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany have come up with what could be a potential AIDS drug. They have found that a substance present in sunflowers prevents the AIDS virus from replicating in cell cultures. It is not yet known if this would also apply to the actual disease.
Advertisement

The substance called as 'DCQA' has been the sole hope of producing a new class of AIDS drugs. But this is available in very minute quantities and naturally is pretty costly. The researchers from Bonn worked in collaboration with the Caesar research centre to make this substance available at a fraction of the earlier costs. The attempt to find the substance in sunflowers started with a mould called sclerotinia sclerotiorum. It was found that some varieties of sunflower were resistant to a disease called "white stem rot' that destroys the crops. Agricultural engineer Claudio Cerboncini proceeded to isolate the substance that confers protection on the sunflowers that are resistant to this fungal disease. The substance was dicaffeoyl quinic acid, or DCQA. "Dicaffeoyl quinic acid can prevent the HI virus from reproducing, at least in cell cultures," said Claudio Cerboncini.

Advertisement
"It is one of the few substances known today which inhibit viral integrase - this is an enzyme which is essential if the pathogen is to reproduce." Preliminary clinical tests have now borne out the hope that DCQA could herald in a new class of AIDS drugs. Dr. Esther Vogt of the Immunological Out-Patient Service of Bonn University Clinic, said, "We need these substances to expand our arsenal of effective weapons against the disease. It remains to be seen, however, whether they will prove to be as effective in clinical practice as they seem to be at present." The University of Bonn researchers have teamed up with Jülich Research Centre to see if they can manufacture this substance on a large scale.

Contact
Dr. Ralf Theisen
r.theisen@uni-bonn.de
University of Bonn
www.uni-bonn.de
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All