U of M researchers hope cancer drugs can treat HIV

5:20 PM, Aug 25, 2010   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- University of Minnesota researchers have published a study detailing a possible HIV treatment using drugs already on the market.

Those drugs, decitabine and gemcitabine, are currently used to treat cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions.  But when combined in lab experiments, researchers found they forced HIV to mutate at a much higher rate, killing itself off "by mutating itself to death," said Louis Mansky, a U of M professor and researcher.

Because the drugs are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, researchers could save plenty of time and money if they are effective treating HIV in humans.  It can takes years and cost millions of dollars to develop new drugs.

"The hope is that these drugs can be more quickly developed into new anti-HIV drugs," Mansky said.

Plenty more research needs to be done, including clinical trials in humans, which are still a ways off.  But researchers have already tested the drugs in mice and found positive results.

One major question is whether the drugs will have any long-term effects on HIV patients.

Researchers also hope to put the drugs in pill form.  Right now, the cancer drugs are only given through in I.V.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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