Insights into the molecular interaction within the Hepatitis C virus heterodimeric serine protease: A prime target for therapeutic intervention

An estimated quarter million Canadians are infected with the hepatitis C virus, a chronic disease that inflames and damages the liver and, in some people, can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. There is currently no effective therapy to treat hepatitis C, nor any vaccine to prevent its transmission. Morgan Martin is studying the function of the HCV NS3 protease, an enzyme required for the hepatitis C virus to make copies of itself inside a cell. Morgan hopes to better understand how this interaction works, so she can identify potential ways to interfere with its functioning. This approach, known as protease inhibition, has already proven useful in drug treatment for HIV infection and may lead to new, effective interventions for hepatitis C.