ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Saint Louis University researchers, along with collaborators from the University of Missouri and University of Pittsburgh, have found a breakthrough in hepatitis B drugs that could cure the virus.
A previously unstudied enzyme was measured and blocked to prevent the virus from replicating, which takes advantage of known similarities with HIV.
The finding may lead to drugs that could suppress the virus enough to cure patients, according to Dr. John Tavis, the author of the study and professor of molecular biology and immunology at SLU. He also says if hepatitis B is cured the majority of liver cancers can be eliminated.
More than 350 million people are estimated to be infected with hepatitis B worldwide.
More studies will need to be performed before treatment is approved for patients.
The research is published in the January 24 edition of PLOS Pathogens.