— Christine M. Kukka, Project Manager, HBV Advocate
Iranian researchers are developing a ground-breaking “monoclonal antibody” that would help the immune system identify and destroy the hepatitis B surface antigen to eradicate the infection.
In the case of chronic hepatitis B, the immune system fails to identify the HBsAg as part of a harmful, viral invasion. Normally, the “epitope” on the HBsAg antigen should serve as a red flag to the immune system, indicating that T-cells and antibodies should attack it. But in the case of HBsAg, its epitope has a mutation, involving a single amino acid, that allows it to remain hidden from the immune system.
According to a report published in the December issue of the journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Iranian researchers are developing a monoclonal antibody therapy that neutralizes these cloaked epitopes so the immune system would recognize and eradicate them. To date, their research has been conducted only in laboratories.
“Our results indicate that antibodies against different epitopes of the ‘a’ determinant of HBsAg are able to neutralize HBV,” they wrote. “These results have important implications for the development of antibody-based therapies against HBV.”