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Ceragenins, or cationic steroid antibiotics (CSAs), are synthetically produced small molecule chemical compounds comprised of a sterol backbone with amino acids and other chemical groups attached to them. These compounds have a net positive charge that is electrostatically attracted to the negatively charged cell membranes of certain viruses, fungi and bacteria. CSAs have a high binding affinity for such membranes (including Lipid A) and are able to rapidly disrupt the target membranes leading to rapid cell death. While CSAs have a mechanism of action that is also seen in antimicrobial peptides, which form part of the body's innate immune system, they avoid many of the difficulties associated with their use as medicines.
Additional recommended knowledge
Ceragenins were invented by Dr. Paul B. Savage of Brigham Young University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and exclusively licensed to Ceragenix. In data previously presented by Dr. Savage and other researchers, CSAs have been shown to have broad spectrum antibacterial activity. Dr. Derya Unutmaz, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tested several CSAs in his laboratory for their ability to kill HIV directly. According to Unutmaz, "We have some preliminary but very exciting results. But we would like to formally show this before making any claims that would cause unwanted hype."
On February 6, 2006, researchers (including Dr. Paul B. Savage) announced that a Ceragenin compound, CSA-54, appears to inactivate HIV. This conclusion is still awaiting peer review.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ceragenin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|