New data published by Peregrine Pharmaceuticals has shown that phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting antibodies can block one of the key ways the AIDS virus gains entry into certain blood cells.

The research conducted by scientists at Duke University showed that PS-targeting antibodies developed or licensed by Peregrine managed to block HIV from entering blood cells via the CCR5 receptor, the most common entry point.

The antibodies accomplished this indirectly by binding to white blood cells called monocytes and causing them to secrete proteins called chemokines, which block entry of HIV into the cell.

In the presence of these monocytes, the antibodies successfully prevented HIV infection in vitro 85% of the time in the studies.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute director Barton Haynes said that the results indicate that targeting a host cell lipid such as PS as an anti-viral strategy is promising for new therapeutic and possibly prophylactic innovations for HIV.

Peregrine Pharmaceutical’s most advanced PS-targeting antibody bavituximab is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of patients co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV.

Phase I studies in HCV patients showed that bavituximab was well tolerated and it exhibited encouraging signs of anti-viral activity.

Bavituximab and a fully human equivalent antibody are also in preclinical development for the treatment of viral hemorrhagic fevers.