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Posted: September 9, 2009

ARUP Laboratories' Scientist Receives NIH Grant to Search for Additional Nano-Based HIV Therapies

(Nanowerk News) ARUP Laboratories, a national clinical and anatomic pathology reference laboratory and a leader in innovative laboratory research and development, announced that ARUP's Tanya Sandrock, PhD, Research & Development scientist, received a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to research additional HIV therapies. Sandrock also serves as chief scientific officer of Integratech Proteomics, a University of Utah start-up company focused on developing new peptide and small-molecule therapeutics with activity against HIV integrase, an enzyme with an essential function in the retroviral replication cycle.
The NIH grant received by Sandrock aims to obtain a small molecule that mimics the effects of an HIV integrase peptide inhibitor. "Forty million people are estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and 22 million people have died since the discovery of the virus in the 1980s," explained Sandrock. "Drugs that inhibit reverse transcriptase, protease, and integrase are available, but drug side effects and viral resistance have made it necessary to develop new treatments for HIV/AIDS. The inhibitory peptide, in conjunction with yeast two-hybrid technology, may result in the discovery of new INT inhibitory compounds to integrase."
Sandrock's research aims to optimize target-peptide displacement assays; screen chemical libraries under high throughput conditions for compounds that disrupt peptide-HIV integrase interaction in yeast; and select the best small-molecular weight drug candidates for further optimization.
ARUP will provide Integratech Proteomics with access to a wet lab and equipment through its incubator program, which allows research and development activities to take place on-site.
"ARUP is fully committed to maintaining its role as a training and research laboratory of the University of Utah School of Medicine," said ARUP Laboratories' President and CEO Edward Ashwood, MD. "ARUP enthusiastically supports Dr. Sandrock in her research efforts. Her persistence in pursuit of a new HIV therapeutic has been impressive. Even though AIDS has been checked by the development of drugs that target the virus, more drugs are needed to control the worldwide spread of this infection."
Integratech Proteomics benefited from a new program called Venture Bench, created by the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) at the University of Utah, to assist university start-ups with infrastructure support. Danuta Petelenz, TCO business manager, said, "This is exactly the type of company the university is interested in assisting and starting, one that provides the possibility of a life-changing solution for a deadly disease and complements the strengths of the life-science capabilities at the University of Utah."
Integratech Proteomics will consider peptide therapy in addition to the small-molecule approach. Sandrock will examine novel nano-technology for drug delivery and will continue collaborating with the NIH, ARUP Laboratories, and the University of Utah to expand knowledge of HIV biology.
About ARUP Laboratories
ARUP Laboratories is a national clinical and anatomic pathology reference laboratory and an enterprise of the University of Utah and its Department of Pathology. ARUP offers over 2,000 tests and test combinations, ranging from routine screening tests to highly esoteric molecular and genetic assays, for patients nationwide. ARUP is a worldwide leader in innovative laboratory research and development.
Source: ARUP Laboratories (press release)

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