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Cancer Drug a Potential Treatment for Dengue Virus

Dasatinib and other drugs that target c-Src protein kinases may be effective for dengue

THURSDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Anti-cancer drugs that inhibit c-Src protein kinase, such as dasatinib, can block the replication of dengue virus and other flaviviruses, according to a study published online Feb. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Priscilla L. Yang, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and a colleague developed a high-throughput cell-based assay to identify small molecule inhibitors of dengue virus replication. The assay measures inhibition of replication by examining cell fluorescence. They then used the assay to screen a protein kinase inhibitor library.

The researchers found that a number of inhibitors blocked viral replication by targeting different kinases. Inhibitors of the c-Src protein kinase blocked the replication of dengue virus (serotypes 1-4) and the murine flavivirus Modoc but not poliovirus type 1. One inhibitor, dasatinib, worked by preventing the assembly of dengue virions, according to the study.

"These results demonstrate that this cell-based screen may provide a powerful means to identify new potential targets for anti-dengue drug development while simultaneously providing pharmacological probes to investigate dengue virus-host cell interactions at the biochemical level," the authors conclude.

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