LAS VEGAS — Mortality rates, particularly because of liver-related
causes, were higher among patients with HCV and diabetes than in those
with either disease or neither, according to data presented at the 2012
of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting.
Researchers evaluated data from 2,132 veterans with viremic HCV,
along with matched controls. All patients were selected from the
Veterans Affairs department of the New York Harbor Healthcare System.
Patients were grouped according to cause of death: nonmalignancy
liver-related, liver malignancy-related, nonliver malignancy-related,
cardiovascular and other causes.
More than 16,000 Americans with liver diseases are waiting for a
transplant, but only 6,000 will receive one this year, according to the
American Liver Foundation.
Donna Cryer, J.D., understands the importance of Liver Awareness Month
(October). After a decade of ulcerative colitis ravaging her liver,
Cryer underwent a liver transplant when she was just 23. Now in her 19th
year post-liver transplant, she is the American Liver Foundation’s
president and CEO. We asked her to dispel some myths about this vital
The liver just deals with waste production: “It screens
out toxins, yes, but from enzyme reactions for digestion to cholesterol
synthesis, it’s a way station for so many important functions.”
NEW ORLEANS — Hepatitis B is a global disease, and treatment remains
elusive, particularly in the pediatric population, according to a
presenter here at the 2012 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.
Judith A. O’Connor, MD, who is a
pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of Oklahoma Health
Sciences Center, said although treatment of HBV can be tricky in younger
patients, it is crucial because this illness has a profound effect on
O’Connor said all of the treatment options for HBV have limitations.
Interferon’s assets include that these medications only require a
limited time frame for treatment, and they have the best antibody
responses, but, on the downside, they can be painful, they require
three-times-a-week dosing, and this is an expensive treatment, although
it is only for 1 year.
Primary care physicians are failing to meet guidelines for hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection, according to US research.
study also found that family medicine physicians were less
knowledgeable about the need for vaccination than their internal
“The results of this study suggest that
there are substantial gaps in the knowledge and a wide variability in
the practice of [internal medicine] and [family medicine] physicians
with regard to vaccination of HCV+ patients,” say K Herzog (New York
University, USA) and colleagues.
Oct. 23–The state Department of Health and Human Resources has run out of kits to test West Virginians for hepatitis C.
Office of Laboratory Services told county health departments last week
the state had run out of test kits. The office blamed problems with a
health departments draw blood and send it to the state’s labs for
testing. The office estimates it needs about 7,700 hepatitis C tests a
year, an average of about 150 kits a week if they are all used. The
office expects to get more kits by Nov. 1.
FDA Program Gives Seriously Ill People Path to Obtain Drugs Still in Testing; One Woman’s Brush With Death
Nisha Gupta was working as a medical resident at a Syracuse, N.Y.,
hospital when she accidentally poked her finger with a needle while
caring for a patient. She remembers feeling a tiny prick at the time.
But the incident triggered a two-decade-long struggle against an
incurable disease that involved two liver transplants, a near brush with
death and a last-ditch gamble with a drug still in the experimental
Dr. Gupta contracted hepatitis C, a disease whose symptoms typically
take years to develop but then become debilitating as the virus attacks
the liver. For Dr. Gupta, fatigue and itching became so severe she would
need several ice packs to numb her skin. She developed a brain disorder
called encephalopathy in 2008 as her liver started failing and could no
longer filter toxins from the blood. A year later, she was diagnosed
with liver cancer. Treatments with standard antiviral drugs stopped
Treating chronic hepatitis C infection with antiviral drugs could halve the risk of developing the most common form of liver cancer, in some cases, indicates an analysis of the published research in one of the new BMJ Open Editions.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer worldwide, accounting for 90 per cent of all primary cases of the disease. Cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C infection are among the most important risk factors.
The authors reviewed the published evidence on the use of antiviral therapy—interferon or pegylated interferon, or ribavirin, or a combination—in people with chronic hepatitis C infection, to assess its impact, and to see if the level of viral clearance, prompted by the treatment, made any difference.
A University of Colorado Boulder-led team has discovered two prime
targets of the Hepatitis B virus in liver cells, findings that could
lead to treatment of liver disease in some of the 400 million people
worldwide currently infected with the virus.
CU-Boulder Professor Ding Xue, who led the studies, said scientists
have been looking for cellular targets of the Hepatitis B virus, or HBV,
for more than three decades. Infections from HBV promote hepatitis
(inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver
cancer and can be transmitted through blood and bodily fluids,
unprotected sex, unsterile needles and from infected mother to offspring