Development of novel therapies for hepatitis C.
Lemon SM., McKeating JA., Pietschmann T., Frick DN., Glenn JS., Tellinghuisen TL., Symons J., Furman PA.
The current standard of care for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a combination of pegylated IFN and ribavirin (Peg-IFN/RBV). Because of the adverse effects associated with both IFN and ribavirin and because Peg-IFN/RBV provides only about a 45-50% sustained virological response (SVR, undetectable HCV RNA for greater than 24 weeks after cessation of therapy) in genotype 1-infected individuals, there is a need for more potent anti-HCV compounds with fewer adverse effects. The twenty-first International Conference on Antiviral Research held in May 2009 in Miami Beach, Florida, featured a special session focused on novel targets for HCV therapy. The session included presentations by world-renowned experts in HCV virology and covered a diverse array of potential targets for the development of new classes of HCV therapies. This review contains concise summaries of discussed topics that included the innate immune response, virus entry, the NS2 protease, the NS3 helicase, NS4B, and NS5A. Each presenter discussed the current knowledge of these targets and provided examples of recent scientific breakthroughs that are enhancing our understanding of these targets. As our understanding of the role of these novel anti-HCV targets increases so will our ability to discover new, more safe and effective anti-HCV therapies.