By *Andrew Hull* *Posted: 04/15/2010* EmoryWheel.com
Emory researchers have found that drugs used to fight HIV may also be
useful in fighting an underlying virus common to both prostate cancer and
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Emory University and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), in
conjunction with the University of Utah, found that a virus known as the
xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a cause for CFS and
prostate cancer and that those illnesses can be treated using existing
XMRV and HIV are retroviruses that, according to the National Institutes of
Health, work by integrating the virus' genes into a cell. The discovery
suggests that a common drug could be used to treat the underlying virus of
other diseases including a type of cancer and CFS.
Raymond Schinazi, Emory School of Medicine's Frances Winship Walters
professor of pediatrics at the Center for AIDS Research and the Atlanta
VAMC, tested 45 different anti-HIV drugs along with multiple other
anti-viral drugs against XMRV.
Schinazi said that because the XMRV virus is similar to a mouse retrovirus,
certain HIV treatments could work against it. He said, however, that studies
yielded mixed results.
According to research published in the journal PLoS ONE, the most potent
drug against XMRV is raltegravir, sold under the commercial name Isentress.
Raltegravir was approved in 2007 for people whose HIV infection was
resistant to other drugs. A 2009 reassessment expanded the drug's potential
applications to all HIV patients. Schinazi said the drugs were most
effective against XMRV when used in a "drug cocktail," which can be
beneficial for later public health breakthroughs.
"This combination of therapies might also have the added benefit of delaying
or even preventing the virus from mutating into forms that are
drug-resistant," Schinazi explained.
Schinazi and Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Utah
School of Medicine Ila Singh are currently studying the development of
similar drug-resistance in the XMRV.
Singh said that much more research must be conducted before the anti-HIV
drugs can be used on other diseases because XMRV did not always appear with
CFS or prostate cancer.
Schinazi added that they need to test XMRV treatment on animals before they
can proceed with human testing.