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New Screening System for Hepatitis C

A newly designed system of identifying molecules for treating hepatitis C should enable scientists to discover novel and effective therapies for the dangerous and difficult-to-cure disease of the liver, says Zhilei Chen, a Texas A&M University assistant professor of chemical engineering who helped develop the screening system.

The system, Chen explains, enables researchers to study the effects of molecules that obstruct all aspects of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle. That's a significant milestone in HCV research, says Chen, noting that previous methods of developing drug treatments for the virus have been limited by the fact that researchers were only able to study one aspect of the HCV life cycle. Chen's findings appear in the most recent edition of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

First identified in 1989 and responsible for hepatitis C, an infectious disease affecting the liver, HCV has infected an estimated 180 million people worldwide. Spread by blood-to-blood contact, HCV can cause chronic infection that leads to dangerous scarring of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and death.
 
 

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