Using probabilistic and viral dynamic models, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Oakland University and Los Alamos National Laboratory predict why rapid resistance emerges in hepatitis C virus and show that a combination of drugs that can fight three or more mutated strains may be needed to eradicate the virus from the body. They compared their model with data from a clinical trial of the new direct-acting antiviral medication telaprevir.
The findings are published in Science Translational Medicine.
Hepatitis C is a progressive liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Current standard treatment is a combination of the antiviral drugs interferon and ribavirin for a period of 24 to 48 weeks -- a regimen that is long and expensive, carries side effects, and is successful only in about half of patients.
Intensive effort has focused on developing direct antiviral drugs. But the virus is genetically diverse, and so may be particularly prone to develop resistance, said Harel Dahari, research assistant professor of hepatology in the UIC College of Medicine and one of the paper's co-authors.
One way to combat resistance would be to administer multiple drugs, each with a different mechanism of inhibiting the virus.
"We found that rapid emergence of resistance to these types of drugs is due to a population of viruses already present, allowing the resistant virus to become the dominant strain," said Dahari.
The researchers suggest that a combination of new antiviral drugs will be needed to fight all of the resistant virus strains and achieve better cure rates for the disease.
"We are moving to a new era where we can treat these patients with direct-acting agents against the virus, in which we specifically target the life-cycle of the virus," Dahari said.
To replace the standard treatment, four or more different types of direct drugs may be needed, Dahari said. However, some patients may need fewer drugs. It depends on the level of the virus in their blood, among other factors.
It is frustrating for patients to go through a long, difficult treatment and know that they might not be cured, said Dr. Scott Cotler, associate professor of medicine at UIC and a hepatologist who treats patients at the University of Illinois Medical Center's Walter Payton Liver Center.
"Patients are looking forward to a day when they don't have to take interferon and ribavirin," said Cotler. "But as we are learning with this study, if we are going to need four different direct drugs, it is going to be awhile before we get there. Now at least we know where the goal line is."
Dahari suggests that future treatment that includes the standard treatment and direct antivirals, such as telaprevir or boceprevir, will be tailored to each patient and that using direct antivirals may also shorten the duration of treatment.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the UIC Walter Payton Liver Center Guild. Co-authors on the study include Libin Rong, Ruy Ribeiro, and Alan Perelson from Oakland University and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 26,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.
Sherri McGinnis González | Newswise Science News
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering