Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure of virus identified that could lead to hepatitis C vaccine

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
Rutgers University
Summary:
The structure of a hepatitis C surface protein has been determined by researchers, a finding that could assist in the development of a vaccine to halt the spread of the the deadly disease that has infected 3.2 million Americans. Hepatitis C is constantly mutating, allowing it to infect a host cell and evade the immune responses, causing chronic infection that can be difficult to treat. "That's why the development of a vaccine is so important. It's always better to prevent infection through an effective vaccine then to treat after a chronic infection has been established," the authors state.

This is Joseph Marcotrigiano, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, Rutgers University. His research could lead scientists closer to a vaccine for hepatitis C.
Credit: Nick Romanenko, Rutgers University

Rutgers University scientists have determined the structure of a hepatitis C surface protein, a finding that could assist in the development of a vaccine to halt the spread of the the deadly disease that has infected 3.2 million Americans.

Joseph Marcotrigiano, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, says this new research -- published online in Nature -- describes an outer region of hepatitis C that enables the virus to evade the body's natural immune system response, causing persistent, chronic infection.

Hepatitis C is constantly mutating, allowing it to infect a host cell and evade the immune responses, causing chronic infection that can be difficult to treat. By identifying the structure of virus's outer protein, Marcotrigiano, the study's lead author, says scientists will be better able to develop a vaccine that targets the immune system to vulnerable regions of the virus in order to prevent infection.

"Viruses are smart and it is a constant battle to keep them out," says Marcotrigiano who collaborated on the research with colleagues from the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers and Emory University School of Medicine. "That's why the development of a vaccine is so important. It's always better to prevent infection through an effective vaccine then to treat after a chronic infection has been established."

Hepatitis C virus is a major global health problem with 160 million people infected throughout the world, about four times more individuals than those with HIV. Most of those infected do not show symptoms until the virus -- the number one cause of liver transplantation -- has caused severe liver damage.

The virus is mainly spread through contact with an infected person's blood, such as sharing of needles. Prior to 1992, when donated blood began being tested, the virus was also spread through blood transfusions and organ donation.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved several new drugs that could cure many patients infected with hepatitis C in as little as 12 weeks. However, at about $1000 per pill, this may not be a cost-effective solution to hepatitis C virus.

Developing a vaccine against hepatitis C would not only prevent people from acquiring the disease, Marcotrigiano says, but would also be the most cost-conscious health intervention.

Michael Houghton, a researcher at the University of Alberta in Canada, has been developing a vaccine that is currently being tested clinically. Houghton, who led a team that discovered the hepatitis C virus in 1989, says the Rutgers finding is important because knowing the structure of the virus will help in the development of a vaccine that enables the immune system to produce more infection-fighting antibodies that can neutralize the virus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abdul Ghafoor Khan, Jillian Whidby, Matthew T. Miller, Hannah Scarborough, Alexandra V. Zatorski, Alicja Cygan, Aryn A. Price, Samantha A. Yost, Caitlin D. Bohannon, Joshy Jacob, Arash Grakoui, Joseph Marcotrigiano. Structure of the core ectodomain of the hepatitis C virus envelope glycoprotein 2. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13117

Cite This Page:

Rutgers University. "Structure of virus identified that could lead to hepatitis C vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219133329.htm>.
Rutgers University. (2014, February 19). Structure of virus identified that could lead to hepatitis C vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219133329.htm
Rutgers University. "Structure of virus identified that could lead to hepatitis C vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219133329.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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