Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research Receives $909,170 Grant for Liver Cancer Treatment Work

Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (CURE) Awards More Than $900,000 to Hepatitis B Foundation Research Arm Institute

Online PR News – 15-September-2012 – Philadelphia, PA – The Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (IHVR), the research arm of the Hepatitis B Foundation, has received a grant of more than $900,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a two-year research project focusing on a new treatment for liver cancer. The $909,170 grant was awarded through the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program, or CURE, in support of IHVR’s research project, A New Inhibitor of the Akt/mTOR Pathway with Remarkable Potency and Selective Anti-Hepatocellular Carcinoma Activity. The project will advance the development of a novel drug candidate with activity against primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC).

“HCC is unfortunately very resistant to chemotherapy, leaving most patients with few therapeutic options,” said Timothy Block, Ph.D., co-founder and volunteer president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and IHVR. “A prototype of the compound we are developing has already proven effective in an animal model. If we are successful, the new drug would be selective for HCC cells and offer higher efficacy, lower toxicity and fewer side effects than current treatments.

“The Hepatitis B Foundation and IHVR are extremely grateful to Pennsylvania and the CURE program for awarding grant funds to further this critical research.”

The CURE program funds health research with the purpose of discovering new scientific knowledge to help improve the health of all Pennsylvanians. Four two-year research projects focused on cancer treatment technologies – including IHVR’s recently received CURE grants. The grants support research that commercializes and brings to market new, proven cancer diagnostics or therapeutics.

“This is an exciting time in health research and we are confident this research will improve public health and help Pennsylvanians to live longer, healthier lives,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Eli N. Avila has stated.

The New Inhibitor of the Akt/mTOR Pathway with Remarkable Potency and Selective Anti-Hepatocellular Carcinoma Activity will optimize the compound prototype that has already proven effective in an animal model, and if successful, will result in a new drug that would function through a different mechanism than currently approved HCC chemotherapies. In awarding the CURE grant to the project, the Pennsylvania Department of Health noted that upon the project’s completion, novel compounds will be ready for
FDA-sanctioned studies leading to an investigational new drug application.

About the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (IHVR): The IHVR is an independent nonprofit research institute established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to conduct discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. To learn more, visit

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to, read our blog at, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at or call (215) 489-4900.