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Issue No. 42 | October 8, 2010

News and Features

Study Details Structure of Potential Target for HIV and Cancer Medications

“In a technical tour de force, structural biologists funded by the National Institutes of Health have determined the three-dimensional structure of a molecule involved in HIV infection and in many forms of cancer. The high-resolution structure sheds light on how the molecule functions and could point to ways to control its activity, potentially locking out HIV and stalling cancer's spread.

“The molecule, CXCR4, is part of a large family of proteins called G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). These molecules span the cell's membrane and transmit signals from the external environment to the cell's interior. GPCRs help control practically every bodily process, including cell growth, hormone secretion and light perception. Nearly half of all drugs on the market target these receptors.

“‘Scientists have been studying CXCR4 for years but have only been able to guess at what it looks like,’ said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. ‘Now that we have its structure, we have a much clearer picture of how this medically important molecule works, opening up entire new areas for drug discovery.’

“The researchers, led by Raymond C. Stevens, Ph.D., of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., report their findings in the Oct. 7, 2010, advance online issue of the journal Science.”

More information is available:

Fall 2010 Issue of mental health AIDS is Released

The quarterly biopsychosocial research update on HIV and mental health, mental health AIDS, is sponsored by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is disseminated free of charge through the SAMHSA Web site in both PDF and HTML formats.

The Fall 2010 issue features "Safety in Numbers: The Emergence of Complex HIV Prevention Interventions."

“Researchers have observed that 'no single HIV prevention intervention has been able to eliminate risk behavior in any population at high risk of HIV, and no single intervention has been equally effective with all members of a high-risk population. These limitations on individual interventions have generated increased interest in the potential effectiveness of “combined” systems of prevention programs targeted to a single population at risk.'

“In this tool box, recent papers evaluating three different combined or complex HIV prevention interventions are highlighted.”

More information is available:

CDC Updates HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Slide Set

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the “HIV Surveillance - Epidemiology of HIV Infection” slide set with information from the HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2008. The slide set provides information and statistics on HIV/AIDS in the United States, including statistical breakdowns of HIV and AIDS diagnoses by state, gender, race/ethnicity, and transmission methods.