DOYLESTOWN A team of 20 people has convened in Doylestown with the goal of curing hepatitis B in three years.

The effort will take place at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, a nonprofit founded by the Hepatitis B Foundation in 2003. It is billed as the "largest concentration of nonprofit scientists focusing solely on hepatitis B and liver cancer in the United States."

The virus can lead to a potentially life-threatening liver condition and kills nearly 800,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization. About 240 million people are infected worldwide.

Leading the endeavor are four principal scientists - Timothy Block, Jinhong Chang, Ju Tao Guo, and Ying-Hsiu Su - and 16 of their staff members and laboratory researchers.

"We are committing everything we have, every resource at our disposal, to developing the therapies that will improve the lives of the millions of people worldwide who live with the hepatitis B virus every day as well as the risk of dying prematurely from its most fatal consequence, liver cancer," Block, who co-founded the foundation and is president of the institute, said in a news release.

- Ben Finley