Breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C

April 15, 2014 by Kirsten O'leary

(Medical Xpress)—A breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C that halves treatment time has been developed in an international clinical trial that included The University of Queensland.

The landmark study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine in a paper co-authored by Professor Darrell Crawford, head of the UQ School of Medicine and director of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.

Professor Crawford said the findings could have a significant, positive impact on millions of patients living with hepatitis C around the world.

"This regime works in half the amount of time as existing treatments with considerably fewer side-effects," Professor Crawford said.

"Current hepatitis C treatments include medications administered by injections for 24 to 48 weeks, which often cause many severe side-effects, such as anxiety and depression.

"Treatment in this study was administered orally for only 12 weeks with less than one per cent of trial discontinuing due to side-effects."

The research was conducted at 79 sites across the world, including four in Australia.

The Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation's Clinical Trials Unit, based at Greenslopes Private Hospital, was the first site to enroll a patient outside the USA.

This was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial where all participants had been diagnosed with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) of the type 1 genotype and had not previously taken medications to treat the HCV infection.

Half the participants received the new treatment regime for 12 weeks while the other half received no treatment.

The groups were then reversed, thereby allowing all participants to be treated with the new drugs.

The new "triple therapy" treatment was taken in combination with ribavirin (RBV).

It is estimated that 130-150 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis C.

In 2011, about 226,700 people in Australia were living with chronic C.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.