Eureka Prize goes to hepatitis B cure
The winners include: Dr. Cody Allison; Dr. Marc Pellegrini, lead clinician-scientist; Mr. Michael Stutz; Mr. James Cooney; Mr. Simon Preston; Mr. Jesse Toe; and Dr. Greg Ebert, the winner of the 2014 Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award.
“Our team is dedicated to tackling some of the biggest challenges in infectious disease,” Pellegrini said. “Chronic infectious diseases including HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis are an enormous burden to humanity, particularly in the developing world. Our work really takes a new approach in how we hope to treat – and potentially cure – these diseases.”
The team’s promising new treatment combines antiviral therapies with an anticancer drug. The results from the preclinical models show that it is 100-percent effective at eradicating hepatitis B infections.
“Despite the availability of new medicines, it became clear that the virus could be stalled but that we couldn’t cure people at all,” Pellegrini said. “It made me interested in finding cures for all these infections for which we have medicines to control, but not cure the disease.”
Further details are available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.