Developing New Drug Targets for HIV

To improve treatment for HIV infection, there’s a need for longer-acting antiretroviral drugs to which HIV won’t become resistant. One approach is to target host-virus interactions. Ganjam V. Kalpana, Ph.D., has received a five-year, $3.1 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop a novel class of drugs that disrupt the interface between an HIV-1 enzyme and a host cell protein. That host cell protein mimics a segment of HIV-1 RNA that also interacts with the same HIV-1 enzyme to enable viral replication. As a result, drugs that disrupt the HIV-1 enzyme/host cell protein interaction are also likely to inhibit viral replication by disrupting HIV-1 enzyme/RNA interactions.

Dr. Kalpana and her colleagues plan to develop dual-acting drugs that interfere with both virus-host protein interactions and viral protein-viral RNA interactions. Ideally, such drugs would potently inhibit HIV-1 replication without inducing drug resistance.

Dr. Kalpana is professor of genetics and of microbiology & immunology and is the Mark Trauner Faculty Scholar in Neuro-oncology at Einstein. (1R01AI170206-01A1)