Attacking Toughest Cases of Hepatitis C
Hints to Future Injection-Free Therapies
Baltimore, MD - Efforts to cure hepatitis C, the liver-damaging infectious disease that has for years killed more Americans than HIV/AIDS, are about to get simpler and more effective, according to new research at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.
In a study reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers say combination treatments involving a pair of experimental, oral antiviral drugs, daclatasvir and sofosbuvir, were safe and highly effective in the treatment of hepatitis C. The combination therapy worked well even in the patients who are hardest to treat, in whom the conventional “triple therapy” with hepatitis C protease inhibitors, telaprevir or boceprevir, plus peginterferon and ribavirin had failed to cure the infection.
“This research paves the way for safe, tolerable and effective treatment options for the vast majority of those infected with hepatitis C,” says study leader Mark Sulkowski, M.D., medical director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Viral Hepatitis. “Standard treatments for the disease are going to improve dramatically within the next year, leading to unprecedented advances for the treatment of patients infected with the hepatitis C virus.”
The research was conducted on 211 men and women with any of the three major types of the disease who were treated at 18 medical centers across the United States and Puerto Rico. Among patients with genotype 1 — the most common strain of the infection in the United States — 98 percent of the 126 previously untreated patients and 98 percent of 41 patients whose infections remained even after the triple therapy were considered cured, with no detectable virus in their blood three months after the treatment had stopped. Results were similar in study participants infected with genotypes 2 or 3, strains which are less common in the United States. Continue>
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