Navigation Links
Breakthrough opens new avenues for hep C vaccine
Date:9/13/2011

Hopes for an effective vaccine and treatment against the potentially fatal hepatitis C virus (HCV) have received a major boost following the discovery of two 'Achilles' heels' within the virus.

A team of medical researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) studied individuals at high risk of HCV infection, including a number identified within a few weeks of the onset of infection.

Using a new technique called next generation deep sequencing and sophisticated computer analytics the team, led by Professor Andrew Lloyd and Associate Professor Peter White, were able to identify the 'founder' virus responsible for the initial infection and then track changes within the virus as it was targeted by the immune system.

"We discovered that hepatitis C has not one but two 'Achilles' heels' that provide opportunities for vaccine development," said Dr Fabio Luciani, from UNSW's Inflammation and Infection Research Centre and the research team's biostatistician.

"If we can help the immune system to attack the virus at these weak points early on, then we could eliminate the infection in the body completely," he said.

A paper describing the breakthrough appears in the leading scientific journal in the field of virology, PLoS Pathogens.

Hepatitis C virus infection is a global pandemic with more than 120 million people infected worldwide, including some 200,000 Australians. The virus causes progressive liver disease leading to cirrhosis, liver failure and cancer. Current antiviral treatments are arduous, costly, and only partially effective.

Team member and virologist Dr Rowena Bull said the discovery of the weakest links meant vaccine researchers could now focus their attentions on the most likely avenues for success.

"The first weak point was identified at transmission, when the virus has to survive the transfer from one individual to another," Dr Bull said.

"The second weakness, and surprise finding, was the significant drop in the diversity of the viral variants in each individual studied, occurring about three months after transmission, around the time where the immune system is starting to combat the virus. A lower number of variants means the virus is easier to target."

Study leader Professor Lloyd said the discoveries were significant because of their potential to overcome longstanding barriers to hepatitis C vaccine development.

"To date hepatitis C has been difficult to target with single interventions because there are many different strains of the virus," he said. "In addition, like HIV, the hepatitis C virus mutates very rapidly and exists as a complex family of mutated viruses within every infected individual, meaning the virus can avoid efforts by the immune system to keep it under control," Professor Lloyd said.

"What's more, a third of infected people can have an effective immune response that eliminates the virus early on. This means key initial immune responses were difficult to identify and study because early infection and elimination can go unrecognised."

Professor Lloyd said work is now underway to identify the key immunological features of the founder viruses in order to guide new vaccines.

"Further research will test the extent of the immune response against these founder viruses in a cohort of very early infected individuals," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Professor Andrew Lloyd
a.lloyd@UNSW.EDU.AU
61-413-112-701
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Breakthrough in genetics of fibroids
2. Major ALS breakthrough
3. Researchers capture breakthrough data on cervical spine injuries
4. CT scans unleash a breakthrough in catching early stage lung cancer
5. NEJM study: New drug represents breakthrough in treatment of hepatitis C
6. Breakthrough in the search for new treatments for MS
7. A scientific breakthrough at the IRCM could help understand certain cancers
8. New research provides breakthrough in understanding common cancer
9. Breakthrough medical food reverses risk of heart disease and diabetes
10. Research breakthrough on male infertility
11. Huntingtons disease breakthrough equals hope for patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... DC (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... WHO: ... Dr. Toni Bark , WHAT: , Medical doctors and PhD scientists will speak to ... written to President Trump in support of an independent vaccine safety commission. , ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... instruments are critical to ensuring high-quality results and maintaining GMP and USP compliance. ... Laboratory Instruments in accordance with GMP requirements " these requirements are explained. ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... Vilnius, Lithuania (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 ... ... identification technologies, today announced the release of two biometric time and attendance tracking ... Bio Attendance 4.0 software. NCheck Cloud Bio Attendance uses biometric face recognition ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... 2017 , ... In its ongoing effort to educate consumers ... and published an informational resource that addresses frequently asked questions. , “ ... site’s team of third party administrator (TPA) contributors regularly receives as employers, benefit ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... , ... A minimally invasive porcelain veneer is increasing in ... of Dental Laboratories (NADL) is informing dentists about the benefits of minimally invasive ... laboratories and technicians that create these veneers. , According to National Board ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/28/2017)... Elysium Health joins major pharmaceutical companies to ... Cambridge academic scientists through ... Institute today announces Elysium Health as a partner to the ... collaborative projects with academic researchers in Cambridge ... major research investment outside the U.S. for the ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... Summary This report provides all the information ... interests and activities since 2010. Description The Partnering Deals ... the partnering activity of one of the world,s leading life ... upon purchase to ensure inclusion of the most up to ... be delivered in PDF format within 1 working day of ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  ImMAGE Biotherapeutics (OTCMKTS: ... immunotherapy successfully passed early toxicology and efficacy studies. The ... to target a specific protein, MAGE A, in an ... breast cancer. After 4 weeks of ... to show very little toxicity in a full toxicology ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: