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Studies of experimental hepatitis C drug show promise for preventing recurrence in liver transplant
Date:10/31/2013

DETROIT New drug therapies offer promise to some hepatitis C sufferers whose transplanted livers are threated by a recurrence of the disease, including some patients who have had no treatment options.

The encouraging findings are contained in two new studies by a collaboration of researchers across the U.S. as well as in Spain and New Zealand including Dilip Moonka, M.D., medical director of Liver Transplant at Henry Ford Hospital.

Both studies are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease being held in Washington, DC, Nov. 1-5.

Both studies focused on the experimental anti-viral drug sofosbuvir, a direct-acting oral medication that may take the place of injectable interferon, which causes severe side effects in some patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide in early December whether to approve its use for treating hepatitis C. Last week, the Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA voted unanimously in support of approval for sofosbuvir-based therapies for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

Chronic hepatitis C, which afflicts an estimated 3 million people in the U.S. alone, is a blood-borne viral disease that leads to scarring and deterioration of the liver. It is particularly insidious because patients usually don't develop symptoms until the scarring or cirrhosis is well underway.

Sofosbuvir, which belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleotide analogue polymerase inhibitors, acts at the molecular level by interfering with the RNA of the hepatitis C virus.

In the first newly released study, researchers tested it as an alternative to interferon, a naturally occurring protein that plays a role in fighting viral infections, but commonly produces a range of serious side effects.

The researchers used it in combination with ribavirin, which also inhibits the hepatitis C virus by interfering wit
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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