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Immunotherapy Approach against Hepatitis B Virus Boosts T Cells and Acts as Direct Antiviral

Scientists at University College London (UCL) have identified a new immunotherapy against hepatitis B virus (HBV), the world’s most common cause of liver cancer. The team’s study using immune cells isolated directly from patient liver and tumor tissue, showed that using a known drug compound to block the activity of an enzyme called acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) was highly effective at boosting the response of specific immune system T cells that can fight both the virus and associated tumors. ACAT is required for cholesterol esterification, a mechanism that prevents the accumulation of excessive, potentially toxic levels of cholesterol in cells. The study, in addition, showed that ACAT inhibition acted as an antiviral that directly reduced HBV replication.

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