Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Texas Scientists Discover How A Hepatitis C Protein Promotes Liver Cancer

Date:
December 6, 2005
Source:
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have identified a key biochemical connection between the hepatitis C virus and liver cancer.

Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have identified a key biochemical connection between the hepatitis C virus and liver cancer.

Related Articles


The molecular mechanism is similar to the one that links the human papilloma virus (HPV), the cause of genital warts, and cervical cancer, according to Dr. Stanley M. Lemon, the senior author of a paper on the discovery that will be published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"What we've found is that one of the hepatitis C virus proteins targets a cell protein that is crucial for suppressing the development of tumors, interfering with its ability to control cell proliferation," Lemon said. "By knocking out this 'tumor suppressor' and promoting the proliferation of liver cells, this viral protein is setting up the liver for cancer."

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 85 percent of liver cancer cases in the United States occur in people infected by the hepatitis C virus. Approximately 200 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hepatitis C, which can persist in the body for decades after an initial infection, often causing so much liver damage that a transplant may be a patient's only chance for survival. The most effective treatment available, interferon therapy, works only about half the time and often causes debilitating side effects. Those who fail treatment are at risk for fatal cirrhosis or developing liver cancer.

Researchers have known for a long time that hepatitis C virus infection can lead to liver cancer. But how the virus goes about this has been unclear.

The UTMB group discovered that the tumor-suppressing retinoblastoma protein is present at markedly reduced levels in cells containing a hepatitis C virus "replicon," a large piece of hepatitis C genetic material that is able to reproduce itself in cultured cells and also able to produce proteins made by hepatitis C viruses. "The replicon experiments enabled us to identify a protein known as NS5B that attaches to the retinoblastoma protein, a critical tumor suppressor, and accelerates its breakdown," Lemon said. He continued: "The way NS5B docks with the retinoblastoma protein is biochemically almost identical to the way a protein made by human papilloma virus does so to produce similar cancer-promoting results. That's interesting, because the two viruses are so different --HPV is a DNA virus, while hepatitis C is composed of RNA."

Understanding just how hepatitis C infection leads to the development of cancer is of critical importance, Lemon said. With no one "silver bullet" cure for hepatitis C on the horizon, he explained, researchers must use new knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of various virus-fighting therapies now under development, managing the care of chronically infected patients in ways that will best help them avoid liver cancer.

###

For more information or to schedule an interview request a digital photo or arrange a taped or live television interview via UTMB's satellite services, please call the media hotline.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Texas Scientists Discover How A Hepatitis C Protein Promotes Liver Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206084538.htm>.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. (2005, December 6). Texas Scientists Discover How A Hepatitis C Protein Promotes Liver Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206084538.htm
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Texas Scientists Discover How A Hepatitis C Protein Promotes Liver Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206084538.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins