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||Interferon-lambda and therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
||Donnelly RP, Dickensheets H, O'Brien TR
||Interferon (IFN)-α, a type-I IFN, is widely used to treat chronic hepatitis C virus infection, but the broad expression of IFN-α receptors often leads to adverse reactions in many organs. Here, we examine IFN-λ, a type-III IFN, as a therapeutic alternative to IFN-α. Like IFN-α, IFN-λ also induces antiviral activity in hepatocytes, but might induce fewer adverse reactions because its receptor is largely restricted to cells of epithelial origin. We also discuss the recent discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near the human IFN-λ3 gene, IL28B, that correlate strongly with the ability to achieve a sustained virological response to therapy with pegylated IFN-α plus ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C.