HEALTHY LIVING
08/02/2013 08:38 am ET

Soybean Compound Genistein Shows Promise For Treating HIV

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A compound derived from soybeans could be promising in treating HIV, according to a new study.

Plus, the method by which the compound -- called genistein -- stops infection could help to alleviate drug-resistance issues because it acts in a different way from current HIV treatments, said researchers from George Mason University, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"Instead of directly acting on the virus, genistein interferes with the cellular processes that are necessary for the virus to infect cells," study researcher Yuntao Wu, a professor at the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, which is based at George Mason, said in a statement. "Thus, it makes the virus more difficult to become resistant to the drug. Our study is currently [in] its early stage. If clinically proven effective, genistein may be used as a complement treatment for HIV infection."

However, Wu explained that the research is still too early to say that eating a lot of soybeans could actually help people who currently have HIV, as the amount of genistein needed to stop HIV is still uncertain.

The study, published in the journal Retrovirology, involved exposing a type of cell, called CD4 T cells, to genistein, and then seeing if it stopped the cells from being infected with HIV.

Recently, soybeans were in the news for their potential in stopping another deadly disease -- cancer. Researchers from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville found that soybean meal peptides -- which is what's left over after oil is extracted from soybean seeds -- seem to be able to stop lung, liver and colon cancer growth in a lab setting.

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