Ms Olayide Arodola at the conference.

UKZN student, Ms Olayide Arodola, ended 2014 on a high note when she presented award-winning Masters research at the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) National Meeting held at the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga.

Supervised by Professor Mahmoud Soliman, new Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences and head of the Molecular Modeling and Drug Design Laboratory, Arodola’s study was titled: Could the FDA-approved anti-HIV PR inhibitors be promising anticancer agents? An answer from enhanced docking and molecular dynamics analyses.

The researchers noted the anticancer activity of Nelfinavir – an FDA-approved HIV-1 protease inhibitor – based on experimental data from a previous report. Nevertheless, Nelfinavir’s mechanism of action was yet to be verified and this led to Arodola’s study as a first account of investigating the anti-cancer activity of all currently FDA-approved HIV PR inhibitors using cutting-edge molecular modelling and drug design approaches at Soliman’s laboratory.

Results from the study showed that Nelfinavir had better binding affinity when compared to other protease inhibitors and this was in a great accordance with the experimental data.