Nelfinavir is a drug used in treatment of HIV infection to lower the HIV viral load. It is an enzyme inhibitor drug which inhibit an enzyme which breakdown protein from human cells in to in to small units, which are then used for formation of HIV viron capsule and rest of proteins responsible for activity of HIV. The enzyme is known as retroviral aspartyl protease, and the drug is known as protease inhibitor.
Simillar approach is also adapted in treatment of Hepatitis C and drugs used for the purpose are Boceprevir and Telaprevir.
The drug Nelfinavir is also being studied extensively for its activity against various cancer cell invitro, and it is found that it can facilitate killing of cancer cell (Apoptosis) when combined with radiation therapy.
Breast cancer is one of big reason for loses of lives in world wide of which breast cancer which is positive of Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 is most difficult to treat and its progression is rapid.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have studied effect of Nelfinavir on HER2 positive breast cancer in vitro over which they found satisfactory and later on confirmed the same in mice model, the concentration of drug required to bring about anticancer activity is almost similar to the existing dosage required for its antiretroviral activity.
This finding can be explored to develop more effective drug for HER2 positive breast cancer by developing analog drugs similar to Nelfinavir.
Other protease inhibitor drugs are ritonavir, indinavir, amprenavir,saquinavir, nelfinavir.