January 1, 1970 (Vol. , No. )

John Sterling Editor in Chief Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researcher says she has developed the first tissue culture of normal, human liver cells that can model infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and provide a realistic environment to evaluate possible treatments. The novel cell line, described in the July 16 issue of PLoS ONE, might allow pharmaceutical companies to effectively test new drug candidates or possible vaccines for the HCV infection, which afflicts about 170 million people worldwide. Currently, there is no animal model that is effective for testing such therapies, according to the PLoS ONE paper.

During this week’s podcast, Dr. Martina Buck discusses the key components of her HCV infection model system and describes the unique aspects of her tissue culture system. She explains how her system differs from other cell cultures used to study HCV and further explores the paths pharmaceutical companies can follow to take advantage of her new cell line.

Dr. Buck also talks about future plans to take her research project to the next stage.