Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment

Date:
March 30, 2011
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
The drug boceprevir helps cure hard-to-treat hepatitis C, offering a brighter outlook for patients who have not responded to standard treatment.

The drug boceprevir helps cure hard-to-treat hepatitis C, says Saint Louis University investigator Bruce R. Bacon, M.D., author of the March 31 New England Journal of Medicine article detailing the study's findings. The results, which were first reported at the 61st annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease's last November, offer a brighter outlook for patients who have not responded to standard treatment.

Bacon, who is professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the HCV RESPOND-2 study, studied the protease inhibitor boceprevir and found that it significantly increased the number of patients whose blood had undetectable levels of the virus.

"These findings are especially significant for patients who don't respond to initial treatment," said Bacon. "When the hepatitis C virus is not eliminated, debilitating fatigue and more serious problems can follow."

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that is transmitted by contact with blood. The infection may initially be asymptomatic, but for patients who develop chronic hepatitis C infection, inflammation of the liver may develop, leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), as well as other complications including liver cancer and death.

The prognosis varies for patients with chronic hepatitis C. With the current standard therapy, about half fully recover after an initial course of peginterferon and ribavirin anti-viral therapy that may last from six months to a year.

The remaining patients, known as non-responders, may improve with initial treatment but the virus is not eliminated, or may not respond to treatment at all. For this group, the only current option is to re-treat patients with the same or similar drugs, which increases the likelihood of severe treatment side-effects. In addition, researchers have found that the success of treatment depends on the major strain, or genotype, of hepatitis C that a patient has.

The HCV RESPOND-2 study looked at 403 patients with chronic hepatitis C infections with genotype one, the most difficult strain of the virus to treat, who still had significant levels of the virus after being treated with peginterferon and ribavirin, the standard hepatitis C treatment.

"These results are very exciting," Bacon said. "In this study, boceprevir helped cure significantly more patients in 36 weeks of therapy than did treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin alone."

A second study, HCV SPRINT-2, examined patients with hepatitis C with genotype one who had not yet been treated with the standard treatment. They, too, responded well to the drug.

Bacon calls the progress made in treating hepatitis C remarkable.

"We've gone from the discovery of the virus in 1989 to where we are now, 22 years later, when we have the ability to cure a large majority of those with hepatitis C," Bacon said. "It's a true success story."

"Drugs like boceprevir are going to revolutionize care of those with hepatitis C."

The clinical trial was funded by Merck, which is seeking FDA approval for the drug.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Fred Poordad, Jonathan McCone, Bruce R. Bacon, Savino Bruno, Michael P. Manns, Mark S. Sulkowski, Ira M. Jacobson, K. Rajender Reddy, Zachary D. Goodman, Navdeep Boparai, Mark J. DiNubile, Vilma Sniukiene, Clifford A. Brass, Janice K. Albrecht, Jean-Pierre Bronowicki. Boceprevir for Untreated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (13): 1195 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1010494
  2. Bruce R. Bacon, Stuart C. Gordon, Eric Lawitz, Patrick Marcellin, John M. Vierling, Stefan Zeuzem, Fred Poordad, Zachary D. Goodman, Heather L. Sings, Navdeep Boparai, Margaret Burroughs, Clifford A. Brass, Janice K. Albrecht, Rafael Esteban. Boceprevir for Previously Treated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (13): 1207 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1009482

Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330192216.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2011, March 30). Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330192216.htm
Saint Louis University. "Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330192216.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins