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Diseases » Hepatitis C » Research
 

Cure Research for Hepatitis C

Cure Research discussion for Hepatitis C:

Basic Research

A major focus of hepatitis C research is developing a tissue culture system that will enable researchers to study HCV outside the human body. Animal models and molecular approaches to the study of HCV are also important. Understanding how the virus replicates and how it injures cells would be helpful in developing a means of controlling the virus and in screening for new drugs that would block it.

Diagnostic Tests

More sensitive and less expensive assays for measuring HCV RNA and antigens in the blood and liver are needed. Although current tests for anti-HCV are quite sensitive, a small percentage of patients with hepatitis C test negative for anti-HCV (false-negative reaction), and a percentage of patients who test positive are not infected (false-positive reaction). Also, there are patients who have resolved the infection but still test positive for anti-HCV. Convenient tests to measure HCV in serum and to detect HCV antigens in liver tissue would be helpful.

New Treatments

Most critical for the future is the development of new antiviral agents for hepatitis C. Most interesting will be specific inhibitors of HCV-derived enzymes such as protease, helicase, and polymerase inhibitors. Drugs that inhibit other steps in HCV replication may also be helpful in treating this disease, by blocking production of HCV antigens from the RNA (IRES inhibitors), preventing the normal processing of HCV proteins (inhibitors of glycosylation), or blocking entry of HCV into cells (by blocking its receptor). Nonspecific cytoprotective agents might also be helpful for hepatitis C by blocking the cell injury caused by the virus infection. Further, molecular approaches to treating hepatitis C are worthy of investigation; these consist of using ribozymes, which are enzymes that break down specific viral RNA molecules, and antisense oligonucleotides, which are small complementary segments of DNA that bind to viral RNA and inhibit viral replication. All of these approaches remain experimental and have not been applied to humans. The serious nature and the frequency of hepatitis C in the population make the search for new therapies of prime importance.

Prevention

At present, the only means of preventing new cases of hepatitis C are to screen the blood supply, encourage health professionals to take precautions when handling blood and body fluids, and inform people about high-risk behaviors. Programs to promote needle exchange offer some hope of decreasing the spread of hepatitis C among injection drug users. Vaccines and immunoglobulin products do not exist for hepatitis C, and development seems unlikely in the near future because these products would require antibodies to all the genotypes and variants of hepatitis C. Nevertheless, advances in immunology and innovative approaches to immunization make it likely that some form of vaccine for hepatitis C will eventually be developed. (Source: excerpt from Chronic Hepatitis C Current Disease Management: NIDDK)

Medical research for Hepatitis C: medical news summaries:

The following medical news items are relevant to medical research for Hepatitis C:

Clinical Trials for Hepatitis C

Some of the clinical trials for Hepatitis C include:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hepatitis C

Medical research papers related to Hepatitis C include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

 

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