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FACULTY OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
Team: Hendrikje Geesje Steenbergen, Michael Joyce
Patent 9,969,979: Methods for producing cells having a phenotype of a primary human hepatocytes and compositions

Freshly isolated primary human hepatocytes are not abundant and produce very low levels of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Commercially available immortalized hepatocyte cell lines are difficult to infect with HCV. Neither is suitable for large scale production of the HCV for commercial scale production of viral particles. Therefore, there is a need in the field for a culture system that can serve as an in vitro model of primary human hepatocytes and allow for large scale production of virus. Tyrrell and his team developed methods for culturing human hepatocyte cell lines so they exhibit a primary human hepatocyte phenotype. Such cell lines are susceptible to infection by a hepatotrophic virus, such as HCV or hepatitis B virus (HBV), and support both viral replication and high levels of viral particle production. These cells are useful for the production and study of hepatotrophic virus, as well as screening for antiviral drugs, assessing drug metabolism and studying primary human hepatocytes.

The TEC Edmonton Innovation Awards celebrate the success of University of Alberta researchers. In 2019, awards were presented to ten University of Alberta spin-off companies and nine research teams that received a US patent and have an industry partner.