Author(s): Shaheen F, Collman RG
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Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A new mechanistic understanding of how HIV-1 enters cells has emerged recently, and these discoveries are now being translated into novel therapeutic agents. Along with CD4, HIV-1 requires a chemokine receptor, CCR5 or CXCR4, as an entry co-receptor, and differential co-receptor selectivity is an important determinant of viral diversity and pathogenesis. CCR5 and CXCR4 blockers have been the focus of much research and are now entering clinical trials. RECENT FINDINGS: Several CCR5 antagonists with anti-HIV-1 activity have been developed, including small-molecule agents, monoclonal antibodies and modified chemokines. At least four small-molecule and one antibody CCR5 inhibitor are in various stages of preclinical and clinical testing. Most or all infected individuals harbor CCR5-using variants, and promising findings have been reported from very preliminary clinical studies. CXCR4 antagonists under development include small-molecule and short-peptide inhibitors. Only a subset of late-stage individuals harbor CXCR4-using strains, and early clinical studies of CXCR4 inhibition showed some evidence of suppression in certain individuals. SUMMARY: Chemokine receptor antagonists offer great promise as a much-needed new class of antiviral agent. They also raise questions that are unique to agents targeting these cellular receptors, including whether drug resistance will lead to variants with altered co-receptor selectivity, the tolerability of chronically blocking receptors involved in inflammation (CCR5, CXCR4) or essential in development and hematopoesis (CXCR4), and the role of co-receptor phenotyping in selecting blocking agents. In addition to HIV-1 infection, these drugs may also have utility in inflammation, cancer, stem cell transplant and other areas.
This article was published in Curr Opin Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals