Discovery shows existing drugs can treat virus
A team of researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health has found existing drug compounds that can both stop Zika from replicating in the body and from damaging the crucial fetal brain cells that lead to birth defects in newborns.
One of the drugs is already on the market as a treatment for tapeworm.
“We focused on compounds that have the shortest path to clinical use,” said FSU Professor of Biological Science Hengli Tang. “This is a first step toward a therapeutic that can stop transmission of this disease.”
Tang, along with Johns Hopkins Professors Guo-Li Ming and Hongjun Song and National Institutes of Health scientist Wei Zheng identified two different groups of compounds that could potentially be used to treat Zika — one that stops the virus from replicating and the other that stops the virus from killing fetal brain cells, also called neuroprogenitor cells.
One of the identified compounds is the basis for a drug called Nicolsamide, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drug that showed no danger to pregnant women in animal studies. It is commonly used to treat tapeworm.
This could be prescribed by a doctor today, though tests are still needed to determine a specific treatment regimen for the infection.
Their work is outlined in an article published Monday by Nature Medicine.
Though the Zika virus was discovered in 1947, there was little known about how it worked and its potential health implications — especially among pregnant women — until an outbreak occurred in South America last year. In the United States, there have been 529 cases of pregnant women contracting Zika, though most of those are travel related. As of Aug. 24, there have been 42 of locally transmitted cases in Florida.
The virus, among other diseases, can cause microcephaly in fetuses leading them to be born with severe birth defects.
“It’s so dramatic and irreversible,” Tang said. “The probability of Zika-induced microcephaly occurring doesn’t appear to be that high, but when it does, the damage is horrible.”
Researchers around the world have been feverishly working to better understand the disease — which can be transmitted both by mosquito bite and through a sexual partner — and also to develop medical treatments.
Tang, Ming and Song first met in graduate school 20 years ago and got in contact in January because Tang, a virologist, had access to the virus and Ming and Song, neurologists, had cortical stem cells that scientists needed to test.
The group worked at a breakneck pace with researchers from Ming and Song’s lab, traveling back and forth between Baltimore and Tang’s lab in Tallahassee where they had infected the cells with the virus.
In early March, the group was the first team to show that Zika indeed caused cellular phenotypes consistent with microcephaly, a severe birth defect where babies are born with a much smaller head and brain than normal.
They immediately delved into follow-up work and teamed with NIH’s Zheng, an expert on drug compounds, to find potential treatments for the disease.
Researchers screened 6,000 compounds that were either already approved by the FDA or were in the process of a clinical trial because they could be made more quickly available to people infected by Zika.
“It takes years if not decades to develop a new drug,” Song said. “In this sort of global health emergency, we don’t have time. So instead of using new drugs, we chose to screen existing drugs. In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”
All of the researchers are continuing the work on the compounds and hope to begin testing the drugs on animals infected with Zika in the near future.
Learn more: FSU research team makes Zika drug breakthrough
Report calls for more integration of physical, life sciences for needed advances in biomedical research.
What if lost limbs could be regrown? Cancers detected early with blood or urine tests, instead of invasive biopsies? Drugs delivered via nanoparticles to specific tissues or even cells, minimizing unwanted side effects? While such breakthroughs may sound futuristic, scientists are already exploring these and other promising techniques.
But the realization of these transformative advances is not guaranteed. The key to bringing them to fruition, a landmark new report argues, will be strategic and sustained support for “convergence”: the merging of approaches and insights from historically distinct disciplines such as engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences.
The report, “Convergence: The Future of Health,” was co-chaired by Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology and director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Susan Hockfield, noted neuroscientist and president emerita of MIT; and Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT and Nobel laureate, and will be presented at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington on June 24.
The report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. Their efforts have produced a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but the report emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.
“Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue,” says Sharp. “Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a biomedical research facility primarily located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
An agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. The NIH both conducts its own scientific research through its Intramural Research Program (IRP) and provides major biomedical research funding to non-NIH research facilities through its Extramural Research Program. With 1,200 principal investigators and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows in basic, translational, and clinical research, the IRP is the largest biomedical research institution on Earth, while, as of 2003, the extramural arm provided 28% of biomedical research funding spent annually in the US, or about US$26.4 billion.
The NIH comprises 27 separate institutes and centers that conduct research in different disciplines of biomedical science. The IRP is responsible for many scientific accomplishments, including the discovery of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, the use of lithium to manage bipolar disorder, and the creation of vaccines against hepatitis, Haemophilus influenzae (HIB) and human papillomavirus
The Latest Updated Research News:
National Institutes of Health United States (NIH) research articles from Innovation Toronto
- A vaccine to treat high cholesterol – November 12, 2015
- UI Health validates cure for sickle cell in adults – September 18, 2015
- Global pandemic of fake medicines poses urgent risk, scientists say – April 21, 2015
- Shape-Shifting Sensor Can Report Conditions from Deep in the Body – April 7, 2015
- Experimental Ebola Vaccine Safe, Prompts Immune Response – April 2, 2015
- Rapid and Durable Protection Against Ebola Virus With New Vaccine Regimens – September 12, 2014
- Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle – August 28, 2014
- NIH and Italian Scientists Develop Nasal Test for Human Prion Disease – August 26, 2014
- Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease – July 4, 2014
- Vaccine Stops Staph Infections
- Fate of Independent Research Institutes Hangs in the Budgetary Balance
- Using millions of gigs of data to improve human health
- Penn Study Treats Alzheimer’s by Delivering Protein Across Blood-Brain Barrier
- Vivax malaria may be evolving around natural defense
- Researchers manipulate virus to create possible new cancer treatment
- “Flipping the switch” reveals new compounds with antibiotic potential
- This breakthrough drug relieves depression in just one dose
- Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab
- From slowdown to shutdown — US leadership in biomedical research takes a blow, says ASCB
- CWRU philosopher examines the hypothesis vs. exploratory funding divide
- Mayo Clinic Researchers Apply Regenerative Medicine to Battlefield Injuries
- Tiny Bottles and Melting Corks: Temperature Regulates a New Delivery System for Drugs and Fragrances
- Biologists Discover New Method for Discovering Antibiotics
- Turning to Parasites as Potential Disease Fighters
- New laser-based tool could dramatically improve the accuracy of brain tumor surgery, researchers show
- Single gene change increases mouse lifespan by 20 percent
- Researchers advance the art of drug testing
- In mild strokes, ultra-early treatment may eliminate risk of disability
- Cognitive decline with age is normal, routine – but not inevitable
- Ultrasound Patch Heals Venous Ulcers in Human Trial
- Malaria vaccine shows early promise in clinical trials
- Inhalable Gene Therapy May Help Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Patients
- Maize Trade Disruption Could Have Global Ramifications
- Chemical Compound Shows Promise as Alternative to Opioid Pain Relievers
- How patent trolls hijacked the building blocks of life
- Light and nanoprobes detect early signs of infection
- Carnegie Mellon Method Uses Network of Cameras to Track People in Complex Indoor Settings
- Flu vaccines aimed at younger populations could reduce transmission
- Genetic editing shows promise in Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Innovative solar cell structure stores and supplies energy simultaneously
- Researchers find Potential Novel Treatment for Influenza
- New molecule heralds hope for muscular dystrophy treatment
- Recipe for Making Large Numbers of Stem Cells Requires Only One Ingredient
- Laser Light Zaps Away Cocaine Addiction
- Rush Scientists Identify Buphenyl as a Possible Drug for Alzheimer’s disease
- There Should Be Grandeur: Basic Science in the Shadow of the Sequester
- Could a computer on the police beat prevent violence?
- New Compound Holds High Promise in Battling Kidney Cancer
- Pitt-led team finds molecule that polices TB lung infection, could lead to vaccine
- Promising compound restores memory loss and reverses symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- Let’s Gang Up on Killer Bugs
- Johns Hopkins Surgeons Implant Brain “Pacemaker” for Alzheimer’s Disease in United States as Part of a Clinical Trial Designed to Slow Memory Loss
- Chemists Invent Powerful Toolkit, Accelerating Creation of Potential New Drugs
- This Week’s Forecast: Sunny with a 40 Percent Chance of Flu
- Advanced exoskeleton promises more independence for people with paraplegia
- New advance could help soldiers, athletes, others rebound from traumatic brain injuries
- New handheld imaging device to aid doctors on the ‘diagnostic front lines’
- Seeking Cures, Patients Enlist Mice Stand-Ins
- Intense Competition among Scientists Has Gotten out of Hand
- UF researchers develop “nanorobot” that can be programmed to target different diseases
- Academic journals face a radical shake-up
- Genetic Engineers Explain Why Genetically Modified Food Is Dangerous
- Computer Model Successfully Predicts Drug Side Effects
- White House Petitioned to Make Research Free to Access
- Key Gene Found Responsible for Chronic Inflammation, Accelerated Aging and Cancer
- Crowdfunding for Research Dollars: A Cure for Science’s Ills?
- Research Unveils Drug Against Entamoeba Hisotolica
- New Drug Trial Seeks to Stop Alzheimer’s Before It Starts
- Large-Scale Analysis Finds Majority of Clinical Trials Don’t Provide Meaningful Evidence
- Agent Reduces Autism-Like Behaviors in Mice
- Emergence of Artemisinin Resistance On Thai-Myanmar Border Raises Spectre of Untreatable Malaria
- Scientists report major breakthrough in age-related macular degeneration prevention
- Mechanism in Cells That Leads to Inflammatory Diseases Discovered
- Despite Safety Worries, Work on Deadly Flu to Be Released
- Vaccine discovered for hep C
- New handheld devices designed to detect brain injuries on-the-spot
- A breakthrough in live cancer cells research
- 1 Percent versus the 99 Percent–A Case for Open Access
- SLAC invention measures stroke damage in the brain
- Compound Kills Highly Contagious Flu Strain by Activating Antiviral Protein
- Breaching the Blood-Brain Barrier
- New ‘Bionic’ Leg Gives Amputees a Natural Gait
- ‘Brain Cap’ Technology Turns Thought Into Motion
- Rare-disease studies seek online giving
- Molecule that can erase or restore long-term memories – in rats
- Controlling a Computer With Thoughts?
- Tasting the Light: Device Lets the Blind “See” with Their Tongues
- Interdisciplinary Research Partnerships Set Out to Uncover the Physics of Cancer
- Making blood from human skin
- Rare Hits and Heaps of Misses to Pay For
- U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents
- Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s
- U.S. Seeks to Make Science Free for All
- Finding a Medical “Silver Bullet” to Disable Many of the World’s Deadliest Viruses
- The Body Politic
- Natural Products Discovery Group Asks for Public’s Help with Citizen Science Program
- The Seeds That Federal Money Can Plant
- Canadian researchers develop a new way to produce medical isotopes
- Genetic Breakthrough for Brain Cancer in Children
- Brazil promises 75,000 scholarships in science and technology
- New Building Material Offers New Design Options
- The High Demand for High-Tech (jobs) is SERIOUS
- 3D scanner-based Body Volume Index launched
- The Once and Future Genome