Toward a complete cure for chronic hepatitis B: Novel therapeutic targets for hepatitis B virus

Sun Woong Kim, Jun Sik Yoon, Minjong Lee, Yuri Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects approximately 250 million patients worldwide, resulting in the progression to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are serious public health problems. Although universal vaccination programs exist, they are only prophylactic and not curative. In the HBV life cycle, HBV forms covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), which is the viral minichromosome, in the nuclei of human hepatocytes and makes it difficult to achieve a complete cure with the current nucleos(t)ide analogs and interferon therapies. Current antiviral therapies rarely eliminate cccDNA; therefore, lifelong antiviral treatment is necessary. Recent trials for antiviral treatment of chronic hepatitis B have been focused on establishing a functional cure, defined by either the loss of hepatitis B surface antigen, undetectable serum HBV DNA levels, and/or seroconversion to hepatitis B surface antibody. Novel therapeutic targets and molecules are in the pipeline for early clinical trials aiming to cure HBV infection. The ideal strategy for achieving a long-lasting functional or complete cure might be using combination therapies targeting different steps of the HBV life cycle and immunomodulators. This review summarizes the current knowledge about novel treatments and combination treatments for a complete HBV cure. (Clin Mol Hepatol 2022;28:17-30).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalClinical and molecular hepatology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
public of Korea (No. HI21C0240), and the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korea government (No. 2021R1A2C4001401).

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Re-

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by Korean Association for the Study of the Liver.

Keywords

  • Antiviral therapy
  • Complete cure
  • Hepatitis B virus

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