A regimen of boceprevir combined with pegylated interferon-ribavirin
improved sustained virologic response in patients with hepatitis C and
advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis, according to recent study results.
Using two phase 3, randomized double blind studies, researchers assessed the efficacy and safety of triple therapy
— boceprevir (BOC) and peginterferon-ribavirin (PR) — among 178
treatment naive or unresponsive patients with HCV genotype 1 and
advanced F3/F4 Metavir fibrosis scores. Patients assigned to three study
arms received a 4-week lead-in of PR and then either 44 more weeks of
PR plus placebo (PR48), PR in addition to BOC response-guided therapy
(BOC/RGT), or PR plus BOC for 44 weeks (BOC/PR48).
Last year, the race to be the first next-generation oral anti-viral hepatitis C drug culminated with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) and Merck (NYSE: MRK) getting their drugs approved a little over a week apart. Vertex’s Incivek went on to dominate the market.
But both drugs still require pegylated interferon, which has to be
injected and has some nasty side effects. The year 2012 has been a
banner year for drugmakers developing all-oral regimens that eliminate
AURORA, Colo. (Dec. 27, 2012) – Researchers at the University of
Colorado School of Medicine have figured out intimate details of how the
hepatitis C virus takes over an invaded cell, a breakthrough that could
point to way for new treatments for the virus.
Hep C hijacks the machinery by which a cell makes proteins and uses
it instead to create proteins for the virus. Over the last two decades,
researchers have figured out that Hep C uses an RNA molecule to do this.
Now they’re trying to fill in the details.
Risk of death was 4 times lower if the virus stayed at undetectable levels for 6 months, researchers found
TUESDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) — Patients with hepatitis C who
have no detectable virus in their blood for six months after treatment
are less likely to die than those who don’t have this “sustained viral
response” after treatment, a new study finds.
“Sustained viral response was associated with prolonged overall
survival,” wrote a Dutch team led by Dr. Adriaan van der Meer, of
Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam. “The risk of all-cause
mortality was almost fourfold lower in [these] patients” compared to
patients whose viral load was not suppressed for six months or more,
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a racketeering charge against
high-profile Las Vegas physician Dipak K. Desai be dismissed, but it
permitted prosecution of Desai on other charges involving a hepatitis
outbreak at his clinic more than five years ago.
Desai and two
employees are accused of reusing syringes and drugs that caused
hepatitis C to be transferred to least seven of his patients.
Millions may not know they are infected, but widespread testing is up for debate
Doctors for years have urged people with very specific risk factors —
a history of intravenous drug use, needlestick injuries, or a medical
record that includes a blood transfusion or organ transplant— to be
tested for hepatitis C.
But now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that all baby boomers be tested
for the disease, saying that people born between 1945 and 1965 have the
highest rate of infection and could benefit from early treatment.
But another organization, the US Preventive Services Task Force, last month issued a draft recommendation suggesting
doctors only “consider” screening all baby boomers. The group, a
government-appointed panel of doctors and health policy experts, gave
the practice of universal screening a C grade, indicating that testing
an entire generation may have little benefit.
The conflicting advice has upset some advocates of broader hepatitis C
screening, who say the recommendation undermines efforts to respond to a
“silent epidemic.” An increasing number of people are dying from the
disease, and treatments, while costly, are improving.