Identifying the link between chronic hepatitis B infection and liver cancer may one day help cancer patients sidestep the poison of chemotherapy, a Purdue University study suggests.
The research group of Ourania M. Andrisani (oo-RAHN-ee-ah an-dri-SAH-nee) has shown that a protein the hepatitis virus instructs chronically infected liver cells to produce – known as the X protein – under certain conditions instructs precancerous infected liver cells to die. The discovery of how the X protein influences liver cell behavior could be harnessed as an anticancer therapy, turning the X proteins presence in the liver to patients advantage.
"Instead of chemotherapy, drugs that influence the X proteins behavior might become an alternative cancer therapy," said Andrisani, a professor of basic medical sciences in Purdues School of Veterinary Medicine. "Rather than give a patient chemicals that damage every cell in the body, therapy based on the X protein could potentially target only cancerous cells, slowing their growth."
Chad Boutin | EurekAlert!
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