[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/207817]
A/Pr Michael Beard
Brief description The majority of individuals infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) show a slow progression of liver disease over a period of 20-30 years. There is increased scaring of the liver which can result in liver failure and in some individuals liver cancer. Due to the lack of suitable model systems to study HCV infection and disease progression there is no currently available vaccine and treatment options are limited. While the host defense mechanisms to HCV are relatively well studied the role that viral proteins and viral replication play in the development of liver disease are not well characterized. Previous experiments in the laboratory have shown that one of the hepatitis C virus proteins results in the formation of toxic oxygen molecules known as a reactive oxygen species. This toxic oxygen molecules can have an effect on liver cells that may enhance the progression of the liver disease process in hepatitis C virus infected individuals. The role that these molecules play in liver cells is unknown but experiments are planned in laboratory model systems and in specimens obtained from hepatitis C virus infected individuals to further examine potential mechanisms. This will hopefully lead to the identification of new treatments for hepatitis C virus liver disease. Some patients with hepatitis C will develop liver cancer, however, all the reasons are not known. Using new technology known as microarray, a consequence of the human genome project, we have been able to look at the expression levels of thousands of genes in liver cancer. Experiments are planned to determine if these genes are important in liver cancer and if they can be used as targets for therapy or to more easily diagnose liver cancer.
Funding Amount $AUD 376,320.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
New Investigator Grant