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Basic Science Discoveries Yield Progress in Hepatology
Date:4/25/2008

Advances in Virology Translate Into New Promising Drugs to Combat Hepatitis

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Clarification of Oncogenic Pathways Aids Liver Cancer Research

Stem Cells of Potential Benefit in Liver Transplantation

MILAN, April 26 /PRNewswire/ --

- Systems Biology Helps to Solve Complex Liver Diseases

At today's sessions of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), experts reported advances in basic research that have important implications for the eventual treatment of people with chronic liver diseases.

The goal of basic or "fundamental" biomedical science is to gain knowledge and understanding for its own sake, without reference to a particular practical problem. "Translational" science transforms basic knowledge into practical terms. "Applied" research, such as "clinical trials," takes the discoveries of basic research even further and uses them to solve specific, clearly defined medical problems. Basic, translational, and applied research are each necessary to progress in medicine, including Hepatology.

In virology, for example, notable progress has been made in clarifying the structure of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), leading to the development of new experimental drugs such as protease inhibitors and polymerase inhibitors, drugs that inhibit virus production. Some of these drugs have been extensively tested and some are currently in phase II trials. Based on results to date, it is clear that these drugs can be highly effective in combination with pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. Phase III trials are planned.

Important basic science advances in genetics and systems biology have also been reported, offering potential progress for strategies to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Using genomics and microarrays to determine gene expression, scientists have discovered that there are different biological pathways - called "oncogen
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SOURCE EASL - European Association for the Study of the Liver
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