Monday, November 09, 2009

New Synthetic Molecules Trigger Immune Response to HIV and Prostate Cancer

New Haven, Conn. —
Researchers at Yale University have developed synthetic molecules capable of enhancing the body’s immune response to HIV and HIV-infected cells, as well as to prostate cancer cells. Their findings, published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could lead to novel therapeutic approaches for these diseases.

The molecules — called “antibody-recruiting molecule targeting HIV” (ARM-H) and “antibody-recruiting molecule targeting prostate cancer” (ARM-P) — work by binding simultaneously to an antibody already present in the bloodstream and to proteins on HIV, HIV-infected cells or cancer cells. By coating these pathogens in antibodies, the molecules flag them as a threat and trigger the body’s own immune response. In the case of ARM-H, by binding to proteins on the outside of the virus, they also prevent healthy human cells from being infected.

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