Hepatitis C virus represents a major global health problem, with approximately 3% of the world population infected. Immune-response modifiers represent the standard of care, given the lack of approved antiviral agents having direct activity against the viral proteins. Although in recent years, improvements in therapy have been attained by combined treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, the discovery and development of next-generation small molecule and biologic agents is ongoing. Several of these newer therapeutics are focused on modulating Toll-like receptors, interferon-alpha signaling, and the pro-inflammatory cytokine balance. A comprehensive account of the lead compounds in development, the bioassays used for optimization of these immune response modifiers and their clinical status is presented.
Keywords: Imiquimod, isatoribine, cytosine-guanine oligonucleotides (CpG), immunomodulatory oligonucleotides (IMOs), toll-like receptors (TLR), inteferon (IFN)
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