(CNN) — A federal grand jury in New Hampshire has
indicted a former hospital worker on fraud and product-tampering charges
in connection with an outbreak of hepatitis C that sickened more than
30 people, prosecutors announced Thursday.
33-year-old David Kwiatkowski injected himself with syringes of
fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, that he stole from patients who were
scheduled for surgery. He began working at New Hampshire’s Exeter
Hospital in April 2011, 10 months after being diagnosed with hepatitis
C, a sometimes-fatal virus that attacks the liver.
Despite encouraging preclinical safety and efficacy data
for its RNAi-based hepatitis C treatment, Somagenics has decided to
step back from its previous plan to push the agent into phase I testing
this year as it waits to see how more advanced small-molecule therapies
fare in late-stage clinical trials, a company official said this week.
In the interim, however, the company is not standing still. Somagenics CEO Brian Johnston told Gene Silencing News
this week that the firm is continuing to refine its HCV treatment to
target additional sites on the virus’ genome as it explores other
therapeutic indications and tests the microRNA diagnostic waters.
The hepatitis C (HCV) market was white hot in 2011 and through the
beginning of 2012, but investors have gotten the message that new HCV
drugs are not going to rival cancer and cardiovascular drugs for
profits. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report,
analyst John Tucker of Sagient Research discusses a handful of stocks
that could benefit from new, patient-friendly HCV therapies with enough
revenue to propel shares upward.
A new study conducted by Spanish researchers has sounded the alarm that
rates of liver cancer are rising dramatically among people with HIV,
solely as a result of coinfection with either hepatitis B, C or both,
aidsmap reports. Published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious
Diseases, the analysis of records from 18 hospitals in Spain concerning
HIV patients between 1999 to 2010 offered a grim portrait: Those with
hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common liver cancer) were often
diagnosed late and had generally poor prognoses; and less than a third
of the liver cancer patients coinfected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV)
ever received antiviral treatment.
efficiency of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission by sexual activity
remains controversial. We conducted a cross-sectional study of
HCV-positive persons and their partners to estimate the risk for HCV
infection among monogamous heterosexual couples.
results of this study provide quantifiable risk information for
counseling long-term monogamous heterosexual couples in which one
partner has chronic HCV infection. In addition to the extremely low
estimated risk for HCV infection in sexual partners, the lack of
association with specific sexual practices provides unambiguous and
reassuring counseling messages. (HEPATOLOGY 2012.).
Hepatology. 2012 Nov 23. doi: 10.1002/hep.26164. [Epub ahead of print]
Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) — People with hepatitis C may be better off taking a zinc supplement for a long term, a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition suggests.
H. Matsumura at Nihon University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan and colleagues conducted the long term trial and found a seven-year zinc supplementation reduced the risk of progression of hepatitis c into liver cancer by nearly 90%, compared with those who did not use zinc supplements.
The Japanese researchers found patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with zinc supplementation therapy for three years and had their serum zinc concentrations increased experienced a significant reduction in the aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, and an increase in platelet counts.
– Gilead Sciences said a late-stage trial of its experimental hepatitis
C treatment showed that the virus was not detected in 78 percent of
patients taking the drug, 12 weeks after completing therapy.
The trial, named Positron, was
testing the drug, sofosbuvir, in patients who were unable or unwilling
to take interferon — a standard hepatitis C drug known for its
unpleasant side effects.
No patient in the placebo group achieved an undetectable virus level 12 weeks after completing the therapy, Gilead said.