Monday, 04 June 2012 08:39

Drug Development: New mechanism of side effects discovered Featured

Two U.S. research groups have developed, independently from each other, a new approach to the way an autoimmune hypersensitivity reaction occurs under a particular drug influence. Advancing the development of new drugs could allow the reduction of animal tests.

The scientists got the insights based on the example of the HIV drug Abacavir (a so-called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor), which is controversial because of its side effects. The drug from the group of nucleoside analogues is used to combat the replication (copying) of viruses - in this case HIV. A false DNA component is built into the viral genome leading to a break in the newly formed DNA chain and to termination of the polymerization and reverse transcription. Finally the virus cannot replicate itself.

The scientists clarified the relationship between the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and the immune system, inducing severe or life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions in 5 to 8 percent of patients. The researchers are convinced that the funding allow them to test future drug candidates for similar interactions at an early stage of drug development - long before animal experiments or clinical studies in humans have to be done.

Source (in German):