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June 13th, 2008
Researchers may find hope for a successful HIV drug in gold
An HIV drug dismissed for its side effects will get a second chance to prove its value, thanks in part to research, which Christian Melander and T. Eric Ballard conducted.
Melander, an assistant professor of chemistry, and Ballard, a graduate student studying synthetic and organic chemistry, worked with UNC-Chapel Hill's microbiology department and the University of Colorado at Boulder's chemistry departments to develop a new nanoparticle called SDC-1721.
Adapted from a particle known as TAK-779, SDC-1721 has been shown to bind with HIV particles and prevent them from fusing with healthy cells. Unlike TAK-779, SDC-1721 does not contain an ammonium salt found to cause inflammation at the site of injection.
"To synthesize SDC-1721, it was much easier to take out the ammonium salt then to try to retain it," Ballard said. "It was a risk, since that was an active part of the molecule, but for ease of synthesis, it was deemed necessary."
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