Feeds

‘Pitstops’ can inhibit viruses

Boffins propose new idea for blocking HIV, cancer

Application security programs and practises

A compound dubbed the “pitstop” has been proposed as offering a new way to defend the body against invaders such as viruses and cancers.

The joint Australian-German project is looking at cell signalling behaviours as offering the chance to block diseases that work by invading human cells.

Cell membranes have to keep nasties out, but have to be able to let nutrients in – and it is the nutrient pathway that provides the gap in defences exploited by attackers. The opening for nutrients is provided by signalling molecules, and it’s the behaviour of those signaling molecules that has attracted the attention of Professor Phil Robinson of the Children’s Medical Research Institute in Sydney, German scientists Volker Haucke of Berlin’s Freie Universität, Adam McCluskey of the University of Newcastle, and their collaborators.

A process called clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) regulates operations such as nutrient absorption in cells. To invade cells, viruses and other pathogens hijack the clathrin that cells use to take in nutrients, invade the cell, and then use the cells' mechanisms to replicate their own genetic material throughout the body.

The researchers say they have developed “pitstop” compounds that interfere with the absorption of pathogens such as HIV, and say that if treatments can be developed based on these “pitsops”, they could block a wide range of invaders.

“What we’ve found is a way to tackle infectious diseases and viral infections; not all of them but probably a large chunk of them,” Professor Robinson told AAP.

Defending clathrin against hijacking, Robinson says, offers a way to prevent pathogens invading the cells, rather than fighting infection after it takes place. He says the compounds that the researchers have used are simple, offering “breathtaking” scope for improvement.

The next step for the researchers will be to find out whether or not their “pitstop” compounds are safe for humans.

The abstract of their research, published in the journal Cell, is here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.