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Stanford researchers synthesize compound to flush HIV out of hiding
Date:5/1/2008

mmunity, starting with the Samoan healers, who willingly shared their knowledge with Paul Cox, an ethnobotanist who saw them prescribing a tea made from Mamala bark for patients with hepatitis-like symptoms. Cox, in turn, sent samples to the National Institutes of Health, in hopes that the bark might have antiviral properties useful in fighting some cancers. Researchers at NIH then analyzed the bark and isolated prostratin.

Prostratin belongs to a class of compounds called tiglianes, many of which promote tumor growth, so it had no initially perceived use in fighting cancer. But NIH researchers found that prostratin was not a tumor promoter and checked to see if perhaps it could help combat HIV, which is when its remarkable ability to flush out the dormant virus was discovered. Significantly, prostratin has also been found to block uptake of the purged virus, offering yet another potentially therapeutic benefit.

"The whole effort is a testimonial to a global community working to deal with what I think is a global, and top priority, problem," Wender said.


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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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