Navigation Links
Novel Hepatitis C Vaccine Shows Some Early Promise
Date:1/4/2012

By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine to protect against the hepatitis C virus, which can cause severe liver damage and even liver cancer, might be possible -- but it's likely years away, researchers are reporting.

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C, which afflicts an estimated 170 million people worldwide.

Like HIV, the hepatitis C virus mutates easily and has always been considered a difficult pathogen to immunize against because it's constantly changing. However, preliminary research by British and Italian scientists suggests that the virus might one day be beatable due to a novel approach.

The researchers treated 41 healthy volunteers with a vaccine designed to generate a response by T cells (infection-fighting cells) against the virus' internal proteins, instead of aiming to create an antibody attack on the ever-changing outer coat of the virus. Study lead author Dr. Paul Klenerman, a senior research fellow at Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, said the new vaccine is based on research by a biotech company in Italy. The researchers are calling it the first clinical trial of a hepatitis C vaccine in humans.

The inside of the virus is much more stable than its outer coat, Klenerman explained, and it's also headquarters for "crucial pieces of machinery." He said the researchers used a chimpanzee-based adenovirus (similar to the common cold virus) as a method of vaccine transmission, and were able to prime a large cellular immune response against hepatitis C that lasted for a year -- the length of the study.

But many questions remain to be answered, Klenerman said. "At the moment the trial is just Phase 1 and it looked at safety and an appropriate dose. It needs to go through at least a Phase 2 trial to show whether it's protective. That trial would probably take two or three years," he said.

Klenerman added that even if the researchers do develop a safe, effective vaccine, it's not certain whether it would protect against different strains of hepatitis C.

"This vaccine is based around one particular genotype -- or strain. The virus itself is very variable. So there's a chance that even if it works well against one strain, it could be less effective against other strains. Viral variation is really a big challenge," he said.

The study is published in the Jan. 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Commenting on the trial, Dr. Andrew Muir, director of gastroenterology and hepatology research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, said: "It's a novel approach toward a vaccine we've never had much enthusiasm for. We'd been told it's unlikely there would be a hepatitis C vaccine."

Muir said that, while many questions remain, if a hepatitis C vaccine were developed, it would be a boon. "Treatment is incredibly expensive," he said, with the current cost ranging from about $50,000 to $100,000.

Dr. Bruce Bacon, professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, said the payoff from such a vaccine is likely years away. "It's early yet and a lot has to be done to prove efficacy. If you can develop a vaccine that's effective, you can significantly reduce the burden of disease, but maybe the burden of disease 20 years from now."

Prevention and screening efforts, and developing effective medications may be more practical areas of focus for now, Bacon said.

People are risk of hepatitis C infection include those on long-term kidney dialysis; have regular contact with blood at work (such as health-care workers); and those who use injectable street drugs, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

More information

To learn more about hepatitis C, visit the U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

SOURCES: Paul Klenerman, M.D., Ph.D., senior research fellow, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Oxford University, England; Andrew Muir, M.D., director of gastroenterology and hepatology research, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, N.C.; Bruce Bacon, M.D., professor of internal medicine, division of gastroenterology and hepatology, St. Louis University School of Medicine; Jan. 4, 2012, Science Translational Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. BUSM researchers identify novel compound to halt virus replication
2. Novel technique could help boost IVF success and reduce multiple pregnancies
3. Novel export-inhibitor shows promise for treating CLL
4. Novel experimental agent is highly active in CLL patients, interim study shows
5. Researchers identify a novel therapeutic approach for liver cancer
6. Novel drug wipes out deadliest malaria parasite through starvation
7. Novel approach to treating breast cancer shows great promise
8. Wayne State receives $1.9 million from NIH to create novel cystic fibrosis treatments
9. Novel ALS drug slows symptom progression, reduces mortality in phase 2 trial
10. Wayne State University to study novel treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria
11. Novel, noninvasive measurement a strong predictor for heart failure in general population
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... Montreal, Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high ... low, risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was ... his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” ... He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, ... and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their ... to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty Network, affiliated ... Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. , ... most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” He stands ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) sponsors Luke’s Wings 5th Annual ... Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852. The event raised funds ... been wounded in battle and their families. Venture Construction Group is a 2016 Silver ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: ... innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was added ... reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and global ... is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive ... awareness of our progress in developing drugs for crucial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Any dentist who ... challenges of the current process. Many of them do not ... the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And those ... offer it at such a high cost that the majority ... Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused on the ... announced that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized ... has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor ... the third quarter of 2016, and to report ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: