Hi . I looked for this article in the Scienc Express , but could no find it on the site. Can anybody tell me if its true ?
Texas scientists have discovered how the hepatitis C virus can disarm the body's defenses, allowing it to become a permanent occupant inside cells.
Laboratory experiments published online Thursday in the journal ScienceExpress also suggested that drugs already being tested in patients could restore the crippled immune response, allowing a cell to rid itself of the virus within days.
The discovery offers a blueprint for new treatments of the deadly infection.
Hepatitis C, most commonly spread through contaminated blood or IV drug use, often
leadsLead poisoning to a persistent, chronic infection. It is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. Current drugs, which must be taken for months and come with sometimes brutal side effects, under the best circumstances cure only about half the people who try them. An estimated 3.9 million Americans have been infected.
"There's a desperate need for new, more effectiveEffective strength cough syrup drugs to fight hepatitis C," said Michael Gale, a researcher with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Gale and colleagues from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston conducted the new experiments.
The research team
discovered that the hepatitis C virus drops a kind of precision bomb once it invades a cell, releasing an enzyme that disables a molecule called interferonInterferon alfa-2a
Interferon gamma-1b regulatory factorFactor ix complex 3, or IRF-3. Without IRF-3, the cell's immune response stalls. With the immune system no longer around to restrain it, hepatitis C gains free reign of the cell, making copies of itself and moving on to infect other cells.
But the UT Southwestern scientists were able to restore IRF-3 by exposing the cells to drugs called protease inhibitorsAlpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Once the cell was awash in protease inhibitorsAlpha-glucosidase inhibitors, the hepatitis C virus was unable to take over. The cell's immune system resurrected, and the virus vanished.
"This is, I think, the weak link in the virus's ability to persist," Gale said.
A second paper published with Gale's study explain more about how IRF-3 and it team of molecules protect cells. "This is a mechanism that is actually used by many viruses," said John Hiscott of McGill University in Montreal. The fact that protease inhibitors restored IRF-3, he said, has implications for many viral infections beyond hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C experts, meanwhile, were pleased to have a new avenue to pursue.
"We found something else that may give us a handle on getting rid of this virus," said Leslye Johnson, who heads research into liver infections at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Maybe I am missing something here, but It looks like an early article about protease inhibitors that are now in clinical trials like telaprevir and boceprevir as well as many others. We will probably start seeing them available to the public in 1-2 years. They are showing very good results when added to the current standard of therapy of Interferon and ribavirin . Eventually they will probably have cocktails of protease and polymerase inhibitors that will hopefully have even better results and will not require the interferon and ribavirin which is so hard on the body. You can search for information on this forum about them or on the internet.
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