Researchers have developed a mathematical model that identifies genes that battle the hepatitis C virus, which attacks the liver.
Researchers conducted a joint study led Dr. Milton Taylor, of Indiana University and Dr. Leonid Brodsky, of the Institute of Evolution of the University of Haifa.
The hepatitis C virus, which is found mostly among patients who have had a blood transfusion or who share needles, attacks the liver and in extreme cases can cause cancer of the liver.
At present, there is one well know medication, interferon, used to treat the virus to which every patient does not respond.
As part of the study, researchers conducted clinical trials which included 400 patients and combined the clinical study with the mathematical model and identified 37 out of 22,000 genes which are key for patient response to interferon treatment.
"When we know which genes are responsible for fighting the viruses which attack our liver, we will be able to look for the medications which will activate these genes most favourably," Dr. Brodsky said.
"In the specific case of hepatitis C, we have now isolated the genes that show which patients will respond to treatment. Until now, all patients received treatment for an extended period of time without knowing whether or not they would respond. In the future, we hope to find other medications that will be more effective in activating all of the 37 genes," Dr. Brodsky added.
The findings of the study will be published in the journal PLOS ONE.