New combination therapy for hepatitis C

May 5, 2014
New combination therapy for hepatitis C
New combination therapy for hepatitis C

A new combination therapy allows chronic hepatitis C to be treated in a manner that is less aggressive yet equally efficient. This is the result of a current study, led by primary author Peter Ferenci from the University Department of Internal Medicine III at the MedUni Vienna, which has been published in the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine. "This is a revolutionary breakthrough in the treatment of this disease and represents a huge improvement in the quality of life of those affected," says the Vienna hepatologist.

Ferenci and a global group of scientists were able to demonstrate using 419 test subjects with C that the combined use of the ABT-450r, the NS5A inhibitor Ombitasvir and the non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitor Dasubavir yields significantly higher cure outcomes than the previous therapy which involves Ribavarin and the hormone interferon (mostly in combination with a protease inhibitor). These therapies also had considerable side effects. The in these current "PEARL" studies were all in the early stages of the disease, i.e. before liver cirrhosis had developed.

Twelve weeks of treatment - almost a 100 per cent cure rate

Says Ferenci: "After just twelve weeks, we had achieved an almost one hundred per cent cure rate with this new, side-effect-free therapy." The therapy involves three tablets – two in the morning and one in the evening. Until now, patients with hepatitis C had to take Ribavirin and the hormone interferon for up to 18 months, and the side effects were considerable. "Often, additional treatment was and is necessary," explains Ferenci. With the new combination therapy, which is also free of interferon, this additional therapy is not required.

Around 170 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hepatitis C, and in Austria these numbers are between 40,000 and 80,000. In cases of new infection, prompt and targeted therapy is vital, as it can prevent the disease developing into a that can lead to . In the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at the University Department of Internal Medicine III, several hundred patients with chronic hepatitis C are currently seen and treated each year.

Due to the low number of symptoms, infected individuals often mistake the disease for a 'flu-like infection. The condition is in many cases diagnosed by a chance finding.

Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by an infection with the hepatitis C virus. The virus is transmitted mostly via direct contact with contaminated blood or blood products. At-risk groups are primarily drug abusers who share needles with others. Transmission through everyday activities is virtually impossible.

Explore further: Hepatitis C: New points system helps with disease prognosis

More information: ABT-450/Ritonavir/Ombitasvir and Dasabuvir With or Without Ribavirin for HCV Genotype 1. P. Ferenci, D. Bernstein, J. Lalezari, D. Cohen, Y. Luo, C. Cooper, E.Tam, Rui T. Marinho, N. Tsai, A. Nyberg, T. D. Box, Z. Younes, P. Enayati, S. Green, Y. Baruch, B. Bhandari, F. Caruntu, T. Sepe, V. Chulanov, E. Janczewska, G. Rizzardini, J. Gervain, R. Planas, C. Moreno, T. Hassanein, W. Xie, M. King, T. Podsadecki and K. Reddy. New Engl. J. Med 2014 (in press). The complete article is available online: www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1402338

Related Stories

Hepatitis C: New points system helps with disease prognosis

July 29, 2013

Between 40,000 and 80,000 Austrians suffer from hepatitis C. With new infections the prompt and appropriate treatment is of great importance as this can prevent it developing into a chronic illness which in turn can progress ...

Doctor details two new hepatitis C drugs

December 20, 2013

In the last three weeks, the Food and Drug Administration has approved two new drugs that are expected to dramatically improve treatment of chronic hepatitis C, a liver-damaging viral infection that afflicts more than 3.2 ...

Recommended for you

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

New therapeutic target for Crohn's disease

September 20, 2016

Research from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a promising new target for future drugs to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, published today in Cell Reports, also indicates ...

Mosquitoes, Zika and biotech regulation

September 19, 2016

In a new Policy Forum article in Science, NC State professor Jennifer Kuzma argues that federal authorities are missing an opportunity to revise outdated regulatory processes not fit for modern innovations in biotechnology, ...

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.