Science publication with SFB 841 participation: specific degradation of nuclear hepatitis B virus DNA

21 February 2014

Hepatitis B is a virus-caused liver inflammation and one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) has sophisticated strategies to protect themselves from destructive influences – the currently available antiviral drugs can not eliminate the pathogen.

In the current issue of Science, an international team of scientists describes for the first time a way to specifically target the genetic material of viruses. Researchers at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have contributed to this work – they could confirm the newly discovered mechanism by means of an innovative HBV infection model which has been developed in Hamburg.

“The results open a new way of thinking for HBV research. In the future, we hope to develop drugs based on these basic research results, which could help treating hepatitis B more successfully than before”, explains Prof. Dr. Maura Dandri, head of the working group viral hepatitis and SFB 841 principal investigator.

This research was realized mainly by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre and the Technical University of Munich. Furthermore, the Klinikum rechts der Isar, other university hospitals and international partners from Belgium, France, the USA and Switzerland are involved. The research was funded by the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF).

Julie Lucifora et al. (2014). Specific and Non-Hepatotoxic Degradation of Nuclear Hepatitis B Virus cccDNA. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1243462

Prof. Dr. Maura Dandri
I. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistr. 52
20246 Hamburg
Tel.: (040) 7410-52949

More information:
SFB 841 project A5 “ Molecular mechanisms of hepatitis B virus persistence in chronically infected human chimeric mice”.