Christoph Seeger Receives NIH Grant to Study Hepatitis B Virus cccDNA

PHILADELPHIA (November 27, 2018) – Christoph Seeger, PhD, a professor in the Blood Cell Development and Function program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the activity of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis B virus chronically infects approximately 300 million people worldwide, and all are at significant increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Although virus replication can be blocked by therapy with nucleoside analogs, infected hepatocytes are not cured, because ccc DNA persists in infected cells.

Seeger’s study will seek to identify the mechanism for cccDNA synthesis and identify cccDNA fate during cell division and nuclear localization using state of the art laboratory assays. 

The grant, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, awards $457,500 renewable for up to four years.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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