Aphios collaborates with VivaCell Biotechnology España to develop
combination therapy for HIV latency
8 April 2009
Aphios Corporation and VivaCell Biotechnology España S.L., of
Cordoba, Spain have entered into a collaborative research and
development agreement to develop a combination therapy for the treatment
of HIV latency.
Currently, over 22 million people have died from AIDS and there are
over 42 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. There is no
vaccine against HIV, and AIDS, if untreated, will lead to the death of
over 95% of infected individuals 10 years post-infection.
HIV infects several cell types during the course of infection and
progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The
persistence of latent HIV-infected cellular reservoirs represents the
major hurdle to virus eradication with highly active anti-retroviral
therapy (HAART), by far the state of the art for treating HIV/AIDS,
since latently infected cells remain a permanent source of viral
reactivation. HAART remains problematic because of long-term toxicity,
development of drug resistance and the inability to target persistent
Aphios Corporation has discovered that bryostatin-1, a potent PKC
modulator, re-activates HIV-1 latency at concentrations that do not
activate signal transduction pathways that may result in negative side
effects. It has also discovered that bryostatin-1 synergizes with
Histone Deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitors such as valproic acid to
antagonise HIV-1 latency.
HDAC inhibitors alone do not significantly reactivate HIV-1 latency
but reduces the concentration of bryostatin-1 (by at least one order of
magnitude to about 1 nanomolar) at which HIV is released from its latent
reservoirs [US Patent Pending].
Dr Eduardo Muñoz, lead inventor and Chief Scientific Officer of
VivaCell Biotechnology España states that: “From our experiments using a
specific and suitable model for HIV-1 reactivation, we determined which
combinations of bryostatins and HDACs inhibitors synergise to antagonise
HIV-1 latency. This finding is essential for the formulation of the
combination therapy using low nanomolar concentrations of bryostatins.
"We also showed that bryostatin-1 downregulates the expression of the
HIV-1 receptors CD4 and CXCR4, and prevents HIV-1-induced cytotoxicity.
While HDACs can be administered in continuous dosing protocol,
bryostatins can be administered following a cyclical dosing protocol.
This combination therapy will be used in patients being treated with
antiretroviral therapy such as HIV-1 protease inhibitors, reverse
transcriptase inhibitors, integrase inhibitors, CCR5 co-receptor
inhibitors and fusion inhibitors.”
VivaCell Biotechnology España, a spin-off from the University of
Cordoba, Spain, is an emerging biotechnology company that investigates
and develops new medical products derived from medicinal plants and
marine organisms, and is currently focused on the preclinical phase of
Aphios Corporation is a biotechnology company that is developing
enabling technology platforms and enhanced therapeutic products from
medicinal plants and marine organisms for health maintenance, disease
prevention and the treatment of certain cancers, infectious diseases and
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