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Creighton Researcher to Seek Novel HIV Treatments

Creighton Researcher to Seek Novel HIV Treatments

A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) expert at Creighton University School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study and identify new targets for developing anti-viral drugs to fight HIV, which causes AIDS.

While HIV infection is incurable, treatment with a combination of anti-retroviral drugs can reduce virus replication to undetectable levels and forestall the disease’s progression. However, in the last decade, there has been a stark increase in the prevalence of multi-drug resistant viruses, noted Michael Belshan, Ph.D., Creighton assistant professor of medical microbiology and principal investigator for the study.

“If we are to continue to repress HIV replication in infected individuals, we must develop new inhibitors that are effective against drug-resistant strains of the virus,” he said. “Drugs that target novel areas of replication have the greatest probability to be effective.”

The Creighton study’s goal is to use advanced proteomic techniques to identify and characterize new virus-host cell interactions in vitro by isolating and analyzing HIV protein complexes. Belshan’s laboratory group will study such aspects of HIV replication as virus uncoating, preintegration complex (PIC) assembly and transport, viral transcriptional regulation, and virus assembly and release.