Rutgers Researchers Claim HIV Cure

Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV (Globe and Mail)

Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a trio of drugs they believe can destroy HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a published report. The drugs, called DAPYs, mimic the virus by changing shape, which enables them to interfere with the way HIV attacks the immune system.

Tests conducted in conjunction with Johnson and Johnson have shown the drug to be easily absorbed with minimal side effects. It also can be taken in one pill, in contrast to the drug cocktails currently taken by many AIDS patients. “This could be it,” Stephen Smith, the head of the department of infectious diseases at Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, said. “We’re all looking for the next class of drugs.”

A research team led by Rutgers chemist Eddy Arnold pre-published details of the most promising of the three drugs, known as R278474, last month in the electronic edition of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Full details will be published in the journal in early 2005.

(via Memeorandum)

Interesting. I’ll retain my skepticism until this one is replicated. And you’d think something of this magnitude would have made it into a top tier journal, no?

FILED UNDER: Health, Science & Technology
James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    No, it’s probably in the right place. JAMA and NEJM don’t tend to go for the sensational unless there’s a big grant-funded study backing it up. (The Lancet acts like they got a bunch of editors from the Sun running their publication.)

    J Med Chem is the best you can get in med chem. It will take a couple rounds of studies to see if this stuff actually works. I think there’s an equal chance of it working, not working, or killing more patients than HIV.

  2. caltechgirl says:

    J.Med.Chem. is a pretty good journal. Second tier, I’d say. Nature and Science would pass on it until several rounds of animal studies are in the books, and JAMA et al would wait for human trials.

    However, I too will remain skeptical until I see the data.

  3. sortapundit says:

    Are they talking about a drug that completely suppresses the virus when taken on a regular basis, or a short term course that wipes it out permanently?

  4. McGehee says:

    I would think that a permanent medication that suppresses the virus as long as you take it, would be a treatment, not a cure.

    To be fair, I don’t see the word “cure” in the linked article, so “treatment” is more likely — especially given that medical science, as far as I know, has never successfully cured a viral illness; the best it can do is keep the patient alive and relatively comfortable until his immune system kills it off.

    Now, if this treatment gives an HIV patient enough of a boost that his immune system can overcome suppression by the virus, that’s some pretty damn serious progress.

  5. 42nd SSD says:

    A much better article of their work can be found at (redirect to to which requires registration, waaaay too many ads, yuck). It isn’t clear to me who is making the sensational AIDS cure claims; they don’t say anything about “cure” in this article.

    The researchers originally submitted to Science and Nature, but were rejected because their work “focused too much on drug development” and wasn’t of “sufficient general interest”. Whee, I say. Whee.

    Their first two DAPY drugs have had reasonably successful Phase I/Phase II trials (do a Google search for details). And because it interferes with numerous replication steps it will be much less likely a resistant virus will appear.

    But I would never say “never”, because given enough time some mutated form of the virus will eventually overcome any replication blocker… it’s very unclear why the body’s immune system can’t or won’t effectively attack the virus, and this is unlikely to be a permanent cure.

    I still say the best AIDS cure of all would be prevention, but I guess that’s just too darn easy.

  6. Rabiraj Naidu says:

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    Global Quantech is Igor Smirnoff’s company
    Search under MRET and EMRON