Monday, July 21, 2008

Wender & Co. vs. HIV

Sorry about not posing until now, everyone! I've been out-of-the-country, but I'm now back in the States, and finally have free internet access.

I'll dedicate my first post to summarizing a research done recently by Stanford professor Paul Wender and his research group. I remember spring quarter when, upon logging onto a computer at Green library, I saw Dr. Wender's face headlining the Stanford website. Back then, I was so swamped with worrying about chemistry in my own life that I avoided interacting with chemistry at all costs when I didn't have to. Now that I'm finally free from the shackles that was chemistry, I have attempted to read up on Wender and his Co's accomplishments.

HIV, perhaps one of the most deadly and infamous diseases known to man, has consumed more than 25 million lives in the past 25 years. The virus can cause AIDS upon transfer of bodily fluids between two or more people, and often attacks helper-T cells of the human immune system. In the past, scientists have encountered trouble dealing with HIV when it enters the helper T cells for refuge. There, the virus could remain dormant for years, before resurfacing to cause more pain and damage to its human victim. This is where Wender comes in.

Wender and his Co. have discovered a way to synthesize prostratin and DPP . Prostratin and DPP, which occur naturally in plants, have shown potential to activate dormant HIV, forcing the virus to become vulnerable to antiviral attack. Unfortunately, these useful compounds have been difficult to obtain in large quantities, and have been resistant to essential structural modifications given their natural origin - that is, until Stanford chemists successfully synthesized the compounds in their laboratory. With the newfound knowledge and ability to synthesize prostratin and DPP, their full therapeutic potentials could finally be reached through molecular and chemical engineering. In the near future, these compounds could play a monumental role in eradicating HIV, AND they could be easily accessible to anyone in need.

Whether or not you like chemistry, you gotta appreciate all that researchers like Wender are doing to better and save human lives. ;) If you'd like detailed report, feel free to visit http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2008/may7/samoahiv-050708.html. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer thus far! Can't wait 'til early Sept~

Steve

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