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 Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>