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Reuters Health Information (2006-01-23): Hepatitis C vaccine candidate shows promise in mice

Drug & Device Development

Hepatitis C vaccine candidate shows promise in mice

Last Updated: 2006-01-23 15:30:24 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Dendritic cells pulsed with a hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein induce immune responses in mice with a vaccinia-virus model of HCV infection, Canadian researchers report in the January issue of the Journal of General Virology.

Senior investigator Dr. Sylvia van Drunen Little-van den Hurk of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon said in a statement that there is evidence that the function of dendritic cells is altered in patients with chronic HCV.

In an effort to increase the immune activity of these cells, she and her colleagues generated dendritic cells from stimulated murine bone marrow pulsed with HCV NS3 protein. They were matured with oligodeoxynucleotide containing CpG motifs.

Mice do not develop HCV infection, so the researchers used a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing NS3 to infect the animals. All mice given NS3-pulsed dendritic cells showed a significant reduction in vaccinia virus titers. Moreover, dendritic cells matured with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide produced stronger levels of protection that did those not so treated.

CpG oligodeoxynucleotides have an established safety record, the researchers note, and they conclude that the study "provides a novel vaccination strategy against hepatitis C that ultimately should be transferable to humans."

J Gen Virol 2006;87:1-10.

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