MSFHR-funded study identifies new hepatitis C treatment

16 January 2012

A new study supported by MSFHR funding has identified a potential treatment for hepatitis C (HCV) that could benefit more than 170 million people worldwide living with the virus.

University of British Columbia researchers, including 2006 MSFHR Trainee award recipient Andrea Olmstead, developed an “inhibitor” drug to decrease the size of fat droplets in liver cells, which HCV requires to form new virus particles. By blocking this replication process, the inhibitor prevents HCV from multiplying and infecting other liver cells.

“Our approach would essentially block the lifecycle of the virus so that it cannot spread and cause further damage to the liver,” said study leader Dr. François Jean in a press release.

This approach represents a new direction in HCV treatment and stands to improve upon current antiviral therapies, which can cause serious side effects and are frequently undermined by viral mutation.

The UBC team’s findings were published last week in the journal PLoS Pathogens. Read the full study.