Human T cells engineered to specifically kill hepatitis B virus-infected human liver cells in mice
Although infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which can cause severe liver disease and even cancer, is preventable with a vaccination, it's estimated that more than 260 million people worldwide are chronically infected. And, for such individuals there's currently no cure. That may be set to change however, if the results of a recent mouse experiment hold true in humans. Humanized mice – containing HBV-infected human liver cells – have been treated with a combination of an antiviral drug and human T cells engineered to express specific anti-HBV receptors. The tooled-up T cells have increased power for killing HBV-infected cells. Indeed, such a T-cell (in green) is shown here attacking a cell expressing HBV proteins (red), while uninfected cells (blue) remain unharmed. Importantly, this approach successfully cleared the mice of their infection, providing hope that such T-cells may also eliminate the disease and associated cancer risk in patients.
Tomorrow, 28th July, is World Hepatitis Day
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.