Vanderbilt University, Brigham Young University, and Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals Report Novel Drug Compound Kills Multiple HIV Strains; Synthetic Small Molecule Acts Through Unique Strain-Independent Virucidal Mechanism
NASHVILLE, Tenn. & PROVO, Utah & DENVER, Feb 6, 2006 -- Vanderbilt University, Brigham Young University and Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that one of a family of compounds, called Ceragenins (or CSAs) shows potent virucidal activity in in vitro laboratory tests against multiple strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.
CSAs were invented by Dr. Paul D. Savage of Brigham Young University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and exclusively licensed to Ceragenix. In data previously presented by Dr. Savage and other researchers, CSAs have been shown to have broad spectrum antibacterial activity. Dr. Derya Unutmaz, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tested several CSAs in his laboratory for their ability to kill HIV directly.
"We found that CSA-54 potently inhibits HIV infection of primary human CD4+ T cells, the virus's in vivo targets, and was not toxic to epithelial cells at concentrations significantly higher than those required to kill the virus," stated Dr. Unutmaz. "In addition, CSA-54 killed a wide range of HIV isolates, and completely blocked genetically engineered HIV that enters the cells independent of the cell surface receptor the virus normally uses. This finding indicates that CSA-54 likely attacks the viral membrane and disrupts the virus from interacting with its target cells, similar to some of the known microbicidal peptides.
This is particularly important as a compound that targets the viral membrane is likely to be effective against all strains of the virus, regardless of mutations as the viral membrane remains unchanged."
"We are encouraged, based on these early in vitro studies, that CSAs may provide a completely unique family of anti-infectives, potentially active against a wide range of viral, fungal, and bacterial targets, including those resistant to current therapies," stated Steven Porter, CEO of Ceragenix. "Given the potent activity of CSA-54 against all strains of HIV tested, we plan on exploring the use of this compound in both topical and systemic applications for HIV therapy."