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Studies reveal methods viruses use to sidestep immune system

toward further developing the protease inhibitors and more effective therapies for hepatitis C and possibly other viral infections."

A third paper, also appearing in PNAS, describes collaborative research with a group at UT Medical Branch in Galveston. The findings shed light on how HCV disrupts a separate immune pathway in infected liver cells, again by unleashing the NS3/4A protease to cleave another protein essential to triggering immune defenses. Again they found that protease inhibitors could reverse the effects of NS3/4A, allowing this immune pathway to be restored to shut down HCV replication.

Hepatitis C is a chronic disease that affects 4 million people in the United States, making it the nation's most common blood-borne infection. It is transmitted primarily through intravenous drug use, blood transfusions or blood products, as well as through sexual contact and is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

UT Southwestern Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) student Eileen Foy was an author on all three papers. MSTP student Rhea Sumpter and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Yueh-Ming Loo were authors on two of the papers. Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Chunfu Wang, MSTP student Cynthia Johnson and research associate Penny Mar-Fish also contributed, as did researchers in Japan.


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Source:UT Southwestern


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