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They managed to remove the hepatitis B virus for the first time

Posted 06/12/2019 17:32:55CET


Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (Germany), in collaboration with experts from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Heidelberg University Hospital, have for the first time eliminated hepatitis B virus (HBV) in a mouse model.

In particular, the work published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that T-cell therapy can provide a permanent cure for this disease, affecting more than 260 million people worldwide.

Vaccination prevents new infections of this virus, although no treatment has yet been found for humans who are chronic carriers of this virus. The drugs available only prevent replication of the virus in the liver cells but can not remove it. In the long run, this can lead to complications such as liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver so that the functional liver tissue is replaced with fibrous connective tissue.

"Currently, chronic hepatitis B can not be cured." We have already shown that T-cell therapy using the new technologies is an encouraging solution for the treatment of chronic HBV infection and liver cancer caused by the virus. This is because "living drugs" are the most powerful therapies we have today, experts said.


The new T-cell therapy has been specifically developed as a method of combating HBV infection and liver cancer associated with HBV. It is known that in patients with chronic infection, virus-specific T-cells can not be detected or exhibit decreased activity. However, if patients can keep themselves under control, a strong T cell response can be detected.

Genetic information for HBV-specific T-cell receptors is obtained from patients with a confirmed infection. In the laboratory, it can be introduced into the T-cells from the blood of patients with chronic hepatitis B. This leads to the formation of new active T cells that fight the virus or cancer cells induced by the virus. Created T cells are capable of completely eliminating cells infected with HBV in cell culture.

"The promising results of this study will help us further explore the potential of T cell therapy and move on with clinical trials together with our partners, so we take a decisive step towards creating this form of personalized medicine," scientists have found.

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