Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LIAI scientists make major advance in the fight against chronic virus infections

10.10.2006
Research could lead to new treatments for hepatitis C and other chronic infections

A major finding that could lead to a new approach for treating hepatitis C and other chronic virus infections was announced today by researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI). The research team, using controlled laboratory studies of mice, was able to eliminate a chronic virus infection in the animals by blocking a key messenger molecule in the immune system. The finding has particular relevance for hepatitis C, a viral illness which can cause liver disease and cancer, but may also be applicable to AIDS, cytomegalovirus and other chronic virus infections.

"This is a significant advance that holds great promise for the treatment of chronic virus infections," said Mitchell Kronenberg, LIAI President & Scientific Director. He noted that the research is particularly exciting because the scientific team was able to completely eradicate the usually chronic infection in the mice, not just tone it down, like many of the current treatment methods for such infections.

The research team, led by Matthias von Herrath, M.D., announced its finding in a paper, "Resolution of a Chronic Viral Infection Following IL-10 Receptor Blockade," published today in the online version of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. A separate study, led by Michael Oldstone from the Scripps Research Institute, produced similar results and was published Sunday in a science journal.

LIAI's research team used a novel method for tackling a chronic viral infection, which involved releasing the disease-fighting power of the immune system by blocking the interleukin-10 (IL-10) messenger molecule receptor with a simple antibody. Normally, this molecule, which is produced at substantial levels during hepatitis C, HIV and cytomegalovirus infections, acts to suppress the immune system's attack on chronic virus infections. "We thought, 'what if we try to correct what the immune system seems to be doing wrong in response to many chronic viral infections?,'" said von Herrath. "So we unleashed the power of the immune system by using an antibody to block the IL-10 receptor. This taught the immune system to take the right action and fight the disease."

The discovery by scientific researchers that mice chronically infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus produce large amounts of IL-10 led to the development of this new intervention. Von Herrath used a version of the virus that causes chronic infections in a study involving 40 infected mice. The mice were treated with the IL-10-blocking antibody for two weeks. "They got better after one week," he said. "After two weeks, the infection was resolved in the majority of the mice and, in the end, all animals were able to cope with the virus. They developed a normal antiviral immune response, gained weight and returned to a healthy state." Von Herrath noted that their studies showed that the treatment worked best when given immediately after infection. "The later you give it after the infection, the lesser the efficacy," he said.

Von Herrath said that future studies in humans should primarily target hepatitis C because it causes the body to produce the most IL-10 of any of the chronic virus infections. Hepatitis C has been compared to a "viral time bomb." The World Health Organization estimates that about 180 million people, some 3% of the world's population, are infected with hepatitis C virus, 130 million of whom are chronic carriers at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. The hepatitis C virus is responsible for 50–76% of all liver cancer cases, and two thirds of all liver transplants in the developed world. Current estimates in the U.S. are that 3.9 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis C.

Currently, hepatitis C is treated with a variety of drugs, with only modest success. "The problem is you need to strengthen the immune system to fight the (chronic) virus, but in doing so it may destroy too many cells. This cellular damage can eventually become intolerable for the body," Von Herrath explained, a condition known as immunopathology. However, in their studies with IL-10, "we found that by blocking this molecule, you can release the brakes on the immune system at a crucial juncture," he said. "This results in an immune system attack that is intense enough to rid the body of the disease, but not so high as to cause immunopathology."

Von Herrath said the research team will continue to expand on the finding. "One of the next steps will be to test the IL-10 blocking antibody on human cells in the lab to see whether these cells also become normal and functional against the virus and to test combination therapies that add viral vaccines, anti-viral drugs and other antibodies to the IL-10 receptor blockade. Combination therapies bear the promise to minimize potential side effects while achieving synergy in combating the viral disease."

Bonnie Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.liai.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>