Currently, there is no vaccine for HCV, and existing treatment methods only work for about half of infected patients. While there is a vaccine to prevent HBV, patients with a chronic infection often need to stay on long-term anti-viral treatments that lead to drug-resistance and, ultimately, end in permanent liver damage.
Building on the knowledge he gained while making his breakthrough discovery of the virus that causes HCV and his identification of the hepatitis D viral genome, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology Michael Houghton is working to develop low-cost prophylactic vaccines against HCV and therapeutic vaccines for HBV.
Houghton's commitment to developing low-cost vaccines could have enormous benefits for hepatitis sufferers in Canada and across the globe, helping them overcome these diseases and reducing the costs and impacts of HBV and HCV on both sufferers and the health-care system.
Joining a prestigious team of internationally recognized virologists, immunologists and molecular biologists at the University of Alberta, Houghton and his research team are maintaining Canada's pioneering position in biomedicine. His move from industry to academia will also allow him to train a new generation of researchers who are equipped for careers in both academia and the biotechnology industry.