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Re: [GIWorld-Hepatitis] FW: NATAP: Hep C Protease Inhibitor: Waging War on Hepatitis C

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  • avansi7465
    This is looking like it might work.........Yea Team!!!! How are you doing? I m hanging in. Just went to doc.......no change........so we re in a holding
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 2, 2006
      This is looking like it might work.........Yea Team!!!! How are you doing? I'm hanging in. Just went to doc.......no change........so we're in a holding pattern. Added the flax seed back to the works. Thanks for the reminder.

      Hang in there, girl!

      -----Original Message-----
      >From: alleypat <alleypat@...>
      >Sent: Feb 21, 2006 5:36 PM
      >To: happyheppers@yahoogroups.com, GI World-Hepatitis <GIWorld-Hepatitis@yahoogroups.com>
      >Subject: [GIWorld-Hepatitis] FW: NATAP: Hep C Protease Inhibitor: Waging War on Hepatitis C
      >"If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little
      >faster." --Isaac Asimov
      >-----Original Message-----
      >From: nataphcv-bounces@... [mailto:nataphcv-bounces@...]On
      >Behalf Of nataphcv@...
      >Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 6:31 AM
      >To: nataphcv@...; nataphcvhiv@...; natapindustry@...;
      >Subject: NATAP: Hep C Protease Inhibitor: Waging War on Hepatitis C
      >Hep C Protease Inhibitor: Waging War on Hepatitis C
      >FEBRUARY 21, 2006
      >News Analysis
      >By John Carey
      >By sleuthing out how the virus disarms the immune system, scientists could
      >be closing in on a cure. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has taken the lead
      >Many viruses have figured out ways to elude the body's protective system.
      >One of the cleverest is the hepatitis-C virus. In scores of millions of
      >infected people, the bug does its damage by making trillions of new viruses
      >a day, years after year.
      >The eventual result often is liver failure or cancer. The cost to the
      >health-care system: an estimated $20 billion to $50 billion a year in the
      >U.S. alone.
      >But while the virus' ability to hide from the body's defenses is well known,
      >the details of its cunning strategy were a mystery -- until now. The answer
      >is not only a scientific surprise; it also has important medical
      >Experimental drugs now in clinical trials will be far more effective against
      >the virus than anyone had expected. "The drugs have shown such a tremendous
      >effect because the virus is getting a double whammy," explains Dr. Stanley
      >Lemon, professor of microbiology, immunology, and internal medicine at the
      >University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He's one of the leaders of
      >the effort to decipher the mechanism.
      >ALARMING DISCOVERY. Here's why. Like most viruses, the hepatitis-C bug
      >commandeers the host's cellular machinery to make copies of itself. For
      >instance, it uses cells' protein factories to make proteins that will become
      >the virus' coat. But before these proteins can be assembled into the coat,
      >they must be sliced and diced in several key places. That's the job of a
      >viral enzyme called protease.
      >When Lemon and his colleagues set out to learn how hepatitis C evaded the
      >body's defenses, they discovered that the enzyme was doing another,
      >unexpected, job. "It was a surprise to find that the protease of the virus
      >was involved in blocking the innate immune system response," he says.
      >Lemon's team employed some elegant scientific sleuthing to solve the
      >mystery. Turns out that "the protease targets two cellular signaling
      >molecules at the very beginning of the immune process," he says.
      >Think of the immune system as having a built-in burglar alarm. Cells roam
      >the body equipped with little detectors, or receptors, on their surface.
      >These receptors seek out and attach to foreign invaders, such as viruses.
      >Once the receptor finds such an invader, it sends out an alarm, mobilizing
      >the immune system to attack the invader.
      >In the case of the hepatitis-C virus, the cells successfully identify them
      >as foreign invaders. But the alarm signal they try to send doesn't get
      >through. The viral protease, Lemon discovered, chops up two crucial
      >molecules that carry the alarm. So even though the "burglar" is detected,
      >the alarm never gets sent to the immune system's police station.
      >ONE LOCK, MULTIPLE KEYS. This ability to evade the immune system has two
      >enormous consequences for drug development. First, a drug that successfully
      >targets the viral protease will be unusually effective. That's because it
      >would not only hit the virus directly, but would also restore the immune
      >system, which is then able to launch its own attack.
      >But such drugs are difficult to design. That's a direct result of the viral
      >protease enzyme's unusual ability to have several targets -- the viral
      >proteins it cleaves to ensure viral reproduction, and the immune system
      >signaling proteins.
      >Most enzymes work only on one target. When scientists look at their
      >three-dimensional shape, these normal enzymes typically have a deep
      >indentation or pocket. The target protein fits into that pocket like a key
      >into a lock.
      >The hepatitis-C protease enzyme, however, has figured out how to work on
      >several targets. "There are multiple keys for that one lock," explains
      >Lemon. As a result, the lock -- that is, the pocket -- must be exceptionally
      >HUGE PAYOFF POTENTIAL. Indeed, when scientists at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
      >(VRTX ) in Cambridge, Mass., figured out the shape of the enzyme in 1997,
      >they discovered that it has an unusually shallow pocket. That, in turn, made
      >it hard to design a drug that fits in the "lock." When the shape of the
      >enzyme was discovered, "we said: 'Oh, boy, that will be a tough problem,'"
      >recalls Vertex Chief Executive Josh Bogor.
      >It took the company years to design a drug that could fit in the pocket,
      >thus disabling the viral enzyme. "It turned out to be an excruciating,
      >atom-by-atom exercise," says Boger.
      >The potential payoff, however, is huge. Results of a small trial with the
      >drug, announced by Vertex in early February, were astonishing. After four
      >weeks of treatment with the drug, in combination with the current standard
      >treatment, the hepatitis-C virus became undetectable in all of the 12
      >The hope, of course, is that the drug's dual effect -- attacking the virus
      >and restoring the immune system response -- will bring an actual cure for
      >patients infected with the virus. That would be a major advance from current
      >treatment, which uses an immune system booster called interferon, a
      >treatment that is often debilitating. It takes many months to even have a
      >chance of working, and fails in a large number of cases.
      >UNFORESEEN SIDE EFFECTS? Vertex isn't the only company in the hunt with a
      >protease inhibitor for hepatitis C. Schering-Plough
      >(SGP) has one in Phase II clinical trials, and on Jan. 30 reported that it
      >had gotten fast-track designation from the FDA. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK ) is
      >said to be working on one as well. Boehringer Ingelheim was actually in the
      >lead at one point, but it had to stop development of its promising candidate
      >because of side effects.
      >Another possible stumbling block: The new Vertex drug could still fail in
      >upcoming trials, due to unforeseen side effects. But based on the latest
      >results, it is currently the best hope. Wall Street has taken notice. Vertex
      >shares now cost around $38, up from $8.83 last April.
      >This tale may be a rare case of a drug working far better than anyone
      >expected -- all thanks to the hepatitis-C virus' remarkable ability to shut
      >off the immune system.
      > ----------
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