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A comparative medicine study identifies new approach to combat viral infections

• byUniversity of Pennsylvania
A study by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine offers a new strategy for enhancing the effects of interferon in fighting off infection. The research suggests that, by targeting a particular molecule in the interferon signaling pathway, specially designed drugs may be able to boost the activity of a person's own interferon, augmenting the immune system's fight against viruses. It's possible that the same drugs might also be effective against some types of cancer and certain autoimmune conditions.
 Serge Fuchs, a professor of cell biology in Penn Vet's Department of Animal Biology and director of the School's Mari Lowe Comparative Oncology Center, was the senior author on the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The practical significance of our study is a demonstration of the ability to use emerging pharmaceuticals to reactivate an individual's own interferon or to use a reduced dose to get the same effect," Fuchs said.

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