Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of liver cancer. To reduce the number of HCV-associated liver cancer cases, a vaccine against HCV is urgently needed. However, HCV has extreme genetic diversity across different strains of the virus, and an effective vaccine must work against all these strains. To help the development of an HCV vaccine, Dr. Flyak is analyzing patients whose immune systems naturally eliminated HCV infections. Specifically, he’s characterizing the antibodies that those patients’ immune systems produced, and seeing how they interact with the virus’s surface molecules. Then, perhaps these antibodies could be reverse-engineered to improve our ability to prevent HCV and also treat HCV-positive cancer patients.
CRI’s Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship is supporting my work applying structural biology techniques to study the mechanisms of hepatitis C virus neutralization by human antibodies, which I believe will give us insights about how to develop an effective vaccine against Hepatitis C virus and reduce the number of HCV-associated liver cancer cases.
Projects and Grants
The structural basis of HCV neutralization by broadly neutralizing human antibodies
California Institute of Technology | Liver Cancer | 2016 | Pamela J. Bjorkman, Ph.D.
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