VIDEO: First step to HBV cure is ‘understanding the virus’
In this exclusive video from the 2019 International Liver Congress, Anuj Gaggar, MD, PhD, vice president of clinical research in liver diseases at Gilead Sciences, highlights some of the company’s advances in hepatitis B.
“We always want to see how we can get things better from where we are today. To do that, we want to get to curative regimens,” he told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “The first step to cure is really understanding the virus, understanding the biology and doing some good research.”
Gaggar said understanding viral genetics, host genetics and things inside the liver can help researchers make better medicine in the future.
Data were presented at the congress on one of those regimens, GS-968 — a TLR-8 agonist — that showed that the drug can induce the kind of immune response that could be important to finding a cure for HBV, Gaggar said. It helps improve T-cell function while reducing the negative regulatory cells that impact T-cell function.
In other HBV research, Gaggar said another study that looked at one of the company’s antiviral drugs, Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide), also produced positive results, showing that patients who switched from older treatments can maintain control of the virus with a low failure rate while improving a few key safety measures.
“We have some really nice data showing what we are doing strong today at Gilead for patients with Vemlidy, what we are doing in the basic science side to help build for that pipeline for the future, and then, where we are with our cure regimens, which are in phase 2 studies,” Gaggar said.
Disclosures: Gaggar is employed by Gilead Sciences.