Anticancer drug 9-nitrocamptothecin (9NC) inhibits HIV-1 replication

The anticancer drug 9-nitrocamptothecin (9NC) inhibits HIV-1 replication in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), researchers report in the July issue of the Journal of Medical Virology.

Dr. M. Reza Sadaie, of NovoMed Pharmaceuticals, Germantown, Maryland, and colleagues note that although previous studies have shown that 9NC inhibits HIV-1 replication, “it is of paramount importance to demonstrate that it is capable of inhibiting HIV-1 replication in human primary lymphocytes.”

Accordingly, PBLs from a noninfected donor were infected with HIV-1, and these and noninfected cells were treated with 9NC. The agent inhibited HIV-1 replication, in a dose-dependent manner, by more than 95%. This essentially was the case whether a single-, double-, or triple-dose regimen was employed.

“Minimal” cytotoxicity was seen following application in infected and noninfected cells. Furthermore, the agent induced apoptosis within 24 hours of treatment in infected, but not noninfected, PBLs.

Dr. Sadaie told Reuters Health that 9NC belongs to a class of medication “that interferes with cellular factors regulating viral gene expression, as well as controlling cell cycle progression.”

He added that although it remains to be seen whether the once-daily oral dosage used in trials in cancer patients will be applicable to those with HIV infection, 9NC appears able to purge infected cell reservoirs, and thus has “curative potential in both HIV infection and AIDS associated malignancies.”


J Med Virol 2001;64:238-244.

Source: Reuters Health

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