According to a CNRS team at the Architecture et Réactivité de l’ARN (RNA Architecture and Reactivity) they have used a specific mutant protein of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS in addition to a combination with an anticancer drugs to improve their effectiveness.
Published in PLoS Genetics on August 23rd the CNRS team has selected a “library” of nearly 80 mutant HIV proteins and tested them on tumor cells in the presence of an anticancer drug. The results have enabled them to identify a dCK variant that is more effective than the wild-type (non-mutated) protein, inducing the death of tumor cells in culture which leads to possibility of reducing the doses of anticancer drugs and would palliate the problems posed by their components’ toxicity, reduce their side effects and, most importantly, improve their effectiveness.
The next step in the years to come will be preclinical (animal) studies on the isolated mutant protein. In addition, this experimental system using a normally life-threatening virus is likely to lead to a great many other therapeutic applications.