While new therapies for chronic hepatitis C virus infection have delivered remarkable cure rates, curative therapies for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remain a distant goal. Although current direct antiviral therapies are very efficient in controlling viral replication and limiting the progression to cirrhosis, these treatments require lifelong administration due to the frequent viral rebound upon treatment cessation, and immune modulation with interferon is only effective in a subgroup of patients. Specific immunotherapies can offer the possibility of eliminating or at least stably maintaining low levels of HBV replication under the control of a functional host antiviral response. Here, we review the development of immune cell therapy for HBV, highlighting the potential antiviral efficiency and potential toxicities in different groups of chronically infected HBV patients. We also discuss the chronic hepatitis B patient populations that best benefit from therapeutic immune interventions.
Keywords: Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B, chronic; Therapeutics; Vaccines.