Medical breakthrough: for the First time, chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus cured

Chronic infection with Hepatitis B Virus was the first to be defeated

According to health experts, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). German researchers, it is now for the first time such an infection has managed to defeat.

Hundreds of millions of people are infected with Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitis viruses plaguing humanity for thousands of years: In the case of studies of 7,000 year old skeletons, researchers at the University of Kiel found in the past year, a tribe of the ancient Hepatitis B virus. Nowadays, infections with the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a worldwide health problem. According to the world health organization (WHO), suffer from over 260 million people have a chronic infection with the Virus. Thus, Hepatitis B is one of the most widespread infectious diseases. Due to the effects of serious liver disease, the Virus is costing many people every year. However, there may be hope: Because researchers have managed it for the first time to defeat a chronic infection with the Virus.

German researchers have succeeded in an animal model, for the first time to defeat a chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus. The scientists have shown that a T-cell therapy may lead to a true cure. (Image: bluebay2014/

Real healing is possible

Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has succeeded, in collaboration with colleagues from the University hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the University hospital Heidelberg in an animal model, for the first time to defeat a chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus.

As it is said in a communication, the Team has shown in its work that a T-cell therapy may lead to a true cure.

According to the figures, it was not possible so far to control the Virus completely.

The results of the study were published in the journal “Journal of Clinical Investigation”.

Long-Term Complications

The Hepatitis B vaccination prevents HBV infections, however, for people who have been infected, for example, at the time of their birth, and chronic virus carriers, a cure is not yet possible.

Drugs do not cause only, that the viruses multiply in the liver cells, but they cannot eliminate the Virus.

In the long term it can lead to complications such as liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver (conversion of liver tissue in function of loose connective tissue).

“Chronic Hepatitis B is not curable,” explains Prof. Dr. Ulrike Protzer, Director of the Institute for Virology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, two partner institutions of the German centre for infection research.

“Now, we were able to show that the new technology of the T-cell therapy is a encouraging solution for the treatment of chronic infection by the Hepatitis B Virus-induced liver cancer”, says the scientist, “because these “living drugs” are the most Effective of what is currently available to us”.

Treatment with T-cells

According to Dr. Karin Wisskirchen, first author of the study and a scientist at the Institute for Virology, has developed the use of T-cells as an approach to combat HBV infection and the HBV induced liver cancer.

It is known that virus-specific T cells in chronically-infected patients are not to be found either even, or a low activity.

If a Patient can get the Virus, however, self-control, is a strong T-cell response is measurable.

“So is this deficit through specific T-cells to compensate for,” says Karin Wisskirchen. The genetic Information for the HBV-specific T-cell receptors was obtained from patients in whom the infection was is healing.

You can then be in the laboratory in T-cells from the blood of patients with chronic Hepatitis B are introduced. This new, active T-cells that fight the Virus or virus-induced cancer cells.

Thus prepared, reprogrammed T-cells were able HBV eliminate infected cells in cell culture completely.

According to the communication, the immune cells in collaboration with the group of Prof. Maura Dandri, from UKE Hamburg in the humanized mouse were tested in the model.

A single dose of the artificially modified T-cells for controlled the Virus in the liver. The T-cells attacked only infected liver cells, spared, however, the healthy tissue.

Myrcludex B, an experimental drug, prevented the HBV could spread to the healthy liver cells as soon as the T-circulating cells. As a result, the infection could heal.

Clinical study planned

“The promising results of this study help us, the potential of the T-cell to study therapy and to advance the clinical development with our partners”, says Prof. Protzer.

“So that we can create a decisive step to establish this Form of personalized medicine.”

Consequently, the Institute will continue to work, as the therapy can be applied to a broad circle of Patients. According to the figures, the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the parts of his T Pte-cell therapy to SCG Cell therapy. Ltd. licensed.

“Together with the partners, we plan a clinical study for the treatment of patients with HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma,” says Wisskirchen. (ad)