Tom Nealon talks about his work at the American Liver Foundation and promising new treatments for hepatitis C patients.
You might not think about what your liver is doing every minute of
every day, but this hidden organ is central to our body’s health — and
it’s the center of the American Liver Foundation’s work. The core
constituency of the American Liver Foundation
is liver patients and their families. Reaching them has been the
Foundation’s mission since they were founded in the 1970’s by AASLD
(American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) according to Tom
Nealon, the National Board Chair.
Now, education and outreach is needed more than ever, he said, in
order to be sure that patients and families learn about the new
therapies just approved for more effective treatment of hepatitis C, a liver infection affecting over 3 million in the United States alone.
About 40 million Nigerians have traces of the hepatitis virus, a survey has shown.
The survey which was carried out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease
Control with support from pharmaceutical research firm Roche also
indicated that at least 11 in every 100 Nigerian having hepatitis B and
2.2% of the population having hepatitis C.
The survey found people who had undergone local circumcision were 43%
more likely to contract hepatitis B, mostly from using unsafe
implements. It also found people were 17% more likely to contract the
virus while getting tribal markings, 15% during blood transfusion, 13%
during non sterile surgical procedures and 11% during body piercing.
For hepatitis C, the commonest risk factor was 52% in local
circumcision, 21% in body piercing and 19% in unsterile blood
In Egypt, millions suffering from genotype 4 Hepatitis C count the days
until the official approval of new breakthrough drugs, hoping for
In 2011 two new drugs – Telaprevir and Boceprevir – were introduced
in Egypt, but they were not suitable with the genotype 4 Hepatitis C
from which 90 percent of Egyptian patients suffer, and they caused side
effects and drug interaction.
In Egypt – which tops the list of countries suffering from this chronic
disease – the soaring numbers of individuals carrying the Hepatitis C
virus has been on the rise, causing much alarm.
The number had reached 8 million in 2008, according to the Health
Ministry registry of that year, translating into nearly 10 percent of
the population, while in some Upper Egypt and the Delta areas, the
percentage is a staggering 20 percent.
Yale researchers from the schools of public health and medicine have proven that an accidental drop of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can remain infectious on surfaces for up to six weeks at room temperature.
The finding provides biological support for epidemiological data that hospital-acquired HCV infections may be due to contact with objects or substances capable of carrying an infectious organism such as HCV and that unhygienic surfaces may contribute to the rapid spread of HCV among people who inject drugs.
Professor Robert Heimer and Yale School of Public Health researchers Mawuena Binka and Amisha Patel collaborated with colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine led by Elijah Paintsil, assistant professor of pediatrics and pharmacology, on the laboratory experiment that was designed to simulate a real-life scenario. Coauthor Brett D. Lindenbach, associate professor of microbial pathogenesis, created a genetically engineered strain of the virus that was key to undertaking the experiments.
Obesity, alcoholism, and chronic hepatitis all increase the risk of
getting liver cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer death
worldwide. Obesity in particular is driving a significant increase in
liver cancer in the United States. These three health problems also
increase cellular stress in the liver, but until now it has not been
clear if there is a direct biological link between cellular stress and
the development of liver cancer.
In a new study, University of Iowa researchers have identified an
unexpected molecular link between liver cancer, cellular stress, and
these health problems that increase the risk of developing this cancer.
The study, published Dec. 19 in the journal PLOS Genetics,
shows that a protein called CHOP, which had previously been thought to
generally protect against cancer, actually promotes liver cancer in mice
and may do the same in humans.
In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
confirmed that the first patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C
occurred in a dental setting in the U.S. This transmission occurred in
the oral surgery practice in Tulsa that was the subject of intense media
publicity earlier this year.
Although the CDC was able to match the viruses of two of the patients
through genetic testing, they may never be able to determine how the
transmission took place. The suspected routes of transmission are
improperly sterilized instruments and the use of unsterile needles in
multiple dose medication vials. The good news is that there have not
been any previously reported cases in dentistry. The bad news is that
A new report, Health Care Reform and Hepatitis C: A Convergence of Risk and Opportunity, authored by Milliman, and funded by Janssen Therapeutics, is available from Milliman at Health Care Reform and Hepatitis C Report.
hope that you find this report timely and insightful.