Research teams such as Tokyo Medical and Dental University and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases announced that they have succeeded in infecting and culturing hepatitis B virus for a long period of time using human iPS cells for the first time in the world.The research results were published in the online version of the international scientific journal "Scientific Reports".
It is said that one in five Japanese people are infected with hepatitis B virus, which is a serious cause of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and fatal fulminant hepatitis caused by latent virus.However, it is difficult to completely eliminate the hepatitis B virus once infected from the body, and the development of an epoch-making new drug has been desired.
In order to develop a new drug, cells are infected with a virus and cultured, but in addition to being difficult to obtain, long-term culture was not possible even if cells were taken out of the liver and infected.Although liver cancer cells can be cultured for a long period of time, they have changed properties different from those of normal cells, making them unsuitable for drug discovery research.
Therefore, in this research, we focused on the pluripotency of iPS cells.When a cell line in the pre-stage of hepatocytes was established from human iPS cells using the iPS cell differentiation / culture technology cultivated over many years, the produced cells have properties similar to those of in vivo hepatocytes and are long-term. It turned out that it can be cultured.As a result of conducting research using these cells, hepatitis B virus infection was established, and it was possible to reproduce the same persistent and latent infection of the virus as in actual patients.
Furthermore, when a cell line that highly expresses the hepatitis B virus receptor gene was established using a technique for artificially introducing a gene into human iPS cells, the infection efficiency was high and the infection culture was suitable for drug discovery research. Successful system development.When multiple antiviral drugs were actually examined using this infectious culture system, the suppressive effect of hepatitis B virus was confirmed.
The results of this study will overcome the shortcomings of conventional culture systems and open new avenues for elucidating the pathophysiology of hepatitis B and developing radical therapies.In addition, since iPS cells can be established and used by collecting cells from many collaborators, drug discovery research will be promoted by spreading this result to many research facilities, and in the future, a revolutionary new drug originating in Japan. Development is also expected.