Sensitive new assay detects hepatitis B infection in single liver cells and serum
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IMAGE: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) closed circular DNA (cccDNA) detection is of major clinical significance. HBV entry into the nucleus of liver cells (hepatocytes) stimulates cccDNA to create HBV RNAs that… view more 

Credit: Song-Mei Liu

Philadelphia, April 12, 2018 – Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A study published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes a new HBV assay that offers advantages over currently used methods because it has the capability to detect closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in serum, single cells, and preserved tissue samples. This assay can be used to diagnose HCC at an earlier stage to manage treatment more effectively.

“The development of HCC is strongly associated with HBV. Recently, several new antiviral strategies targeting cccDNA have been established to improve HBV clearance. It is of great clinical significance to provide an accurate and sensitive approach for cccDNA detection. With this method, more and more patients with chronic HBV will have precision treatment available to prevent or delay HCC occurrence, and HCC in patients could be diagnosed at an earlier stage,” explained lead investigator Song-Mei Liu, MD, PhD, of the Center for Gene Diagnosis, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan

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