Case Number 112046 - Test to Predict Hepatitis C Virus Improved Clearance Rates

Contact: Geoffrey Pinski
Email: pinskig@ucmail.uc.edu
Phone: 513-558-5696

Description:  Dr. Kenneth Sherman and his colleagues have developed a rapid and inexpensive test methodology that utilizes the predictive nature of IL28b gene polymorphisms to evaluate likelihood of hepatitis C virus clearance spontaneously or clearance following treatment.

Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects more than 170 million people worldwide. Some individuals spontaneously clear the infection without treatment (approximately 25-30%), many do not and become chronically infected and are at increased risk of developing liver cirrhosis. In addition, more than half of HCV patients do not respond to standard HCV treatment of peginterferon alfa and ribavirin. By identifying patients who are more likely to spontaneously clear HCV or are more likely to respond to a treatment of peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, doctors can better plan treatment of HCV patients.

Dr. Sherman and his colleagues have developed a rapid and inexpensive methodology for the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the IL28B gene. This SNP has been closely associated with spontaneous clearance and clearance via treatment. The methodology is based on high resolution melting (HRM) analysis; HRM analysis is a rapid, low cost qPCR mutation scanning method. The method is based on computer analysis of DNA melting patterns resulting from gradual temperature dependent release of double-stranded DNA binding dye. Because our test relies on HRM it is: cost effective versus other genotyping technologies such as sequencing; ideal for large-scale genotyping projects; can accurately genotype many samples rapidly.

We believe that our method has the potential to be a simple, rapid and inexpensive standard test for preparing the treatment of HCV patients. For example a donor liver could be screened for the SNP prior to liver transplantation. Those livers which contain the SNP would be preferred for HCV patients because of the increased chance of clearance spontaneously or via treatment.