"Activation of the lymphotoxin β receptor in the host cell promotes
certain proteins and supports their function in such a way that they
chemically modulate and degrade viral cccDNA."
Scientists in Munich, Germany, have discovered how the viral DNA of
the hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be degraded in the cell nucleus of
liver cells, consequently allowing the virus to be eliminated. Viruses
such as HBV can persist by depositing their genetic information (DNA)
in the cell nucleus, where the DNA is normally not degraded. This
prevents antiviral drugs from eliminating these viruses. But the newly
discovered mechanism could make this possible without damaging the
infected cell in the liver. In the current issue of the prestigious
journal "Science", the scientists from the Technische Universitaet
Muenchen and the Helmholtz Zentrum München report that now new
therapeutic possibilities are opening up as a consequence.
Although preventive vaccination is possible, the World Health
Organization (WHO) reports that more than 240 million people around the
world are currently suffering from a chronic hepatitis B infection.
They face a high risk of developing liver cirrhosis or even liver
cancer. In Germany alone, more than half a million people are affected.
Although available antiviral medicines can control the hepatitis B
virus, they cannot completely eliminate it. As a result, the HBV in the
patient's liver is reactivated as soon as the treatment is
Labels: Research and Discoveries