Mouse Model of Individual Unresponsive to Interferon

NIAID has developed a mouse model that produces very high levels of Interferon-alpha-receptor 2 (IFNAR2), both in liver cells and free-floating in serum.

Chronic co-infection of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with increased overall morbidity and mortality compared to those infected with just one virus. Recent data further suggests that co-infection is also associated with a more rapid progression of liver disease, higher HCV RNA viral levels, decreased cure rate of HCV, and increased toxicities of anti-HCV therapy. Finally, clinical trials have shown that many patients infected with both viruses do not respond to Interferon-based therapy. Research strongly suggests that non-responding patients have an increased level of a free-floating form of IFNAR2, which could block Interferon activity.

Resistance to Interferon therapy also occurs in other diseases, such as autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus, scleroderma, psoriasis, vasculitis) and certain forms of cancer (e.g., Kaposi’s sarcoma, follicular lymphoma). The various means by which resistance arises is currently being researched.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Study of mechanisms of resistance to Interferon therapy in selected diseases, such as HCV/HIV co-infection and certain cancers
  • Study of Interferon-alpha in auto-immune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, psoriasis, and vasculitis
  • Drug design and screening
  • A model to screen, develop, and test drugs for HCV among HCV/HIV co-infected patients not responding to Interferon.
  • A model for basic research, to study the biology and role of IFNAR2 and its function, along with the role of the Interferon receptor in the development of disease resulting from activation of the immune system.

Shyamasundaran Kottilil (NIAID)
Howard Young (NCI)
Michael Polis (NIAID)
Anthony Suffredini (CC)

Intellectual Property:
Research Tool -- patent protection is not being pursued for this technology

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Laboratory of Immunoregulation, is interested in collaborative research directed toward molecular strategies for vaccine and antiviral development, and animal models of viral hepatitis C. Please contact William Ronnenberg at 301-451-3522 or for more information.

Licensing Contact:
Susan Ano , Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
Phone: 301-435-5515

OTT Reference No: E-106-2009/0

Updated: Jul-12-2010