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Is Synthesis of Prostratin a Potential Game Changer for Anti-Viral Treatment?

Wally

Senior Member
Messages
1,167
A compound found in tea brewed from tree bark could lead the way in the fight to eradicate AIDS, researchers claim.

Scientists have found a way to isolate the chemical, prostratin and synthesise it so it is 100 times as potent, the meeting of the American Chemical Society was told.

The bark of the mamala tree, which contains prostratin, has been used by tribal healers in Samoa to treat patients with hepatitis.

The same technique could be used on naturally occurring drug candidates, some found in sea creatures, leading to new treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s, said Dr Paul Wender, of Stanford University.

Dr Wender said his research represents a ‘fundamentally new approach to some of the most serious unmet health challenges of our time'.

He led a team which developed a process to distill prostratin from the bark of the Samoan mamala tree and was praised by native healers as remedy for hepatitis.

Scientists isolated prostratin as the active ingredient and realised its potential as an anti-viral drug.

Dr Wender said: 'We now have made synthetic variants of prostratin, called analogs, that are 100 times more potent than the natural product.

That’s part of the basis for our approach to advancing potentially transformative treatments for AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease and resistant cancer.

The mamala tree did not start making prostratin millions of years ago to treat a disease that appeared in the 20th century.

'The same is true for other substances that occur naturally in plants and animals. But we now have the tools to read nature’s library and use the lessons learned there to design, make and study new molecules that address unmet medical needs.

'This ‘function-oriented’ approach seeks to identify useful parts of molecules and then, based on this knowledge, to design new and more readily synthesised molecules that work better or work in totally new ways.

'This is a well-validated strategy, perhaps best exemplified by the emergence of modern aviation from knowledge of how birds fly.'

The new compounds have shown promise for both preventing HIV from infecting human cells and awakening dormant HIV viruses that are hiding inside human latently infected cells.

Latent HIV cell reservoirs are untouchable by today’s antiviral medicines which reduce active virus levels in patients’ blood and keep them healthy.

But when patients stop the medication, the hibernating HIV in reservoirs awakens to resupply active virus.

Prostratin flushes out dormant HIV cells so that antiviral drugs can attack and hopefully eradicate the HIV from the body. In essence, said Dr Wender, if one wants to eliminate a weed, one needs to get rid of its roots.

His team used the same approach to synthesis bryostatin, a substance that occurs naturally in sea creatures called bryozoans.

'Bryostatin has shown great promise in laboratory experiments as the basis for development of potentially transformative medicines for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and the eradication of HIV/AIDS,' he said.

However, its limited supply from natural sources has slowed research, and as with prostratin, it was not evolved in nature for modern therapeutic use.

'We have overcome both the supply and performance barriers by designing simpler and thus more readily synthesised analogs of bryostatin - over 100 of them so far.

'When tested in various assays related to HIV/AIDS eradication, these analogs are up to 1,000-fold more potent in flushing HIV out of its hiding places than prostratin.

'Much needs to be done, but we are on a promising trajectory.'

The research team is currently also focusing on bryostatin and designed analogs for their potential use in boosting memory in Alzheimer’s patients.

The compound is known to improve learning and memory in laboratory rats and appears to cause formation of new connections in the brain that are associated with learning and memory.​
Published on Sept. 9, 2013 by Mail Online, article written by Ellie Zolfagharifard. See full article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/a...s-create-antiviral-drug-bark-mamala-tree.html
 

Sparrowhawk

Senior Member
Messages
514
Location
West Coast USA
Fascinating, esp. this part which is applicable potentially to those with ongoing viral-related ME/CFS:

Prostratin flushes out dormant HIV cells so that antiviral drugs can attack and hopefully eradicate the HIV from the body. In essence, said Dr Wender, if one wants to eliminate a weed, one needs to get rid of its roots.

Dr. Chia has said the entero viruses are in all the tissues -- wonder if it would work the same way for those as well?
 

Wally

Senior Member
Messages
1,167
Fascinating, esp. this part which is applicable potentially to those with ongoing viral-related ME/CFS:


Dr. Chia has said the entero viruses are in all the tissues -- wonder if it would work the same way for those as well?

It also made me wonder about viruses like herpesviruses which have been found hidden away in bone marrow. Could this type of treatment work to flush out latent viruses hiding out in places that have been proven to be very difficult to find using traditional testing methods?
 

Christopher

Senior Member
Messages
576
Location
Pennsylvania
Wender’s group has synthesized a substance called bryostatin, a chemical that occurs naturally in sea creatures called bryzoans.

“Bryostatin has shown great promise in laboratory experiments as the basis for development of potentially transformative medicines for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and the eradication of HIV/AIDS,” Wender said. “However, its limited supply from natural sources has slowed research, and as with prostratin, it was not evolved in nature for modern therapeutic use. We have overcome both the supply and performance barriers by designing simpler and thus more readily synthesized analogs of bryostatin — over 100 of them so far. When tested in various assays related to HIV/AIDS eradication, these analogs are up to 1,000-fold more potent in flushing HIV out of its hiding places than prostratin. Much needs to be done, but we are on a promising trajectory.”

http://www.foodexposed.co.za/nature-contains-cure-for-most-of-todays-diseases/