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World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Sep 7;13(33):4431-6.

New therapeutic opportunities for hepatitis C based on small RNA.

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  • 1Erasmus MC-University Medical Centre, Department of Gastroenterology, Room L458, sGravendijkwal 230, 3015 CE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the major causes of chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer and is therefore, the most common indication for liver transplantation. Conventional antiviral drugs such as pegylated interferon-alpha, taken in combination with ribavirin, represent a milestone in the therapy of this disease. However, due to different viral and host factors, clinical success can be achieved only in approximately half of patients, making urgent the requirement of exploiting alternative approaches for HCV therapy. Fortunately, recent advances in the understanding of HCV viral replication and host cell interactions have opened new possibilities for therapeutic intervention. The most recent technologies, such as small interference RNA mediated gene-silencing, anti-sense oligonucleotides (ASO), or viral vector based gene delivery systems, have paved the way to develop novel therapeutic modalities for HCV. In this review, we outline the application of these technologies in the context of HCV therapy. In particular, we will focus on the newly defined role of cellular microRNA (miR-122) in viral replication and discuss its potential for HCV molecular therapy.

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