The adverse side effects of certain hepatitis C medications can now be replicated and observed in Petri dishes and test tubes, thanks to a research team led by Craig Cameron, the Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State. "The new method not only will help us to understand the recent failures of hepatitis C antiviral drugs in some patients in clinical trials," said Cameron. "It also could help to identify medications that eliminate all adverse effects." The team's findings, published in the current issue of the journal PLOS Pathogens, may help pave the way toward the development of safer and more-effective treatments for hepatitis C, as well as other pathogens such as SARS and West Nile virus.
First author Jamie Arnold, a research associate in Cameron's lab at Penn State, explained that the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which affects more than 170,000,000 people worldwide, is the leading cause of liver disease and, although antiviral treatments are effective in many patients, they cause serious side effects in others.