Current treatment modalities available for hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are not efficient. The enormous disease burden caused by these two infections makes the development of novel therapies critical. For HCV, the development of an effective vaccine is urgent in view of the escalating number of infected individuals. Molecular therapies for HBV and HCV infection can be directed at reducing viral load by interfering with the life cycle of the viruses or at generating immune response against viral epitopes. The antiviral approaches consist of the delivery or expression of antisense RNAs, ribozymes or dominant negative proteins. Viral biology can be interrupted by attacking various potential targets within the two viruses. DNA-based vaccination strategies are being explored for both prevention and treatment of these diseases. Both non-viral and recombinant viral vectors are being developed for safe, effective and long-term gene transfer to the liver. Although no 'ideal' vector is available at this time, the ingenuity of numerous investigators is leading to the improvement of the vector systems, promising successful application of gene therapy to the prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis in the foreseeable future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)