Researchers predict response to hepatitis C treatment
Lausanne – Swiss researchers have identified a genetic variation that identifies responders to the current hepatitis C standard treatment of ribavirin plus interferon. In a genome-wide association study a research team, headed by Dr. Zoltan Kutalik from University of Lausanne, determined that people with a particular sequence variation in a gene called IL28B are twice as likely to clear the hepatitis C virus from the body. The gene affected encodes for interferon lambda, an antiviral signal molecule. „The polymorphism may exert its influence by modulating the expression level of the interferon lambda gene“ said Kutalik on Sunday at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics in Gothenburg. Infections with the hepatitis C virus affect about 300 million people worldwide, and half of them do not respond to standard antiviral therapy.