Hepatitis C: New points system helps with disease prognosis

July 29, 2013, Medical University of Vienna
Hepatitis C: New points system helps with disease prognosis

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 to inoperable liver cancer. Now a research team led by scientists of the MedUni Vienna has succeeded in developing a points system enabling a better prognosis as to whether the illness will become chronic or whether the acute hepatitis C will spontaneously heal itself.

"This is significant by virtue of the fact that, for patients with a tendency towards developing a chronic illness, early treatment with affords a better chance of healing," explains hepatologist Harald Hofer of the University Department of Internal Medicine III at the MedUni Vienna, Clinical Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Chief: Michael Trauner).

The points system was developed by the MedUni Vienna researchers from a combination of clinical and biochemical parameters. Says Hofer: "Using this, the clinical course of the acute hepatitis C can be much better predicted, which means that the costly antiviral therapy with its many side effects can be much more efficiently deployed." The results of the study have been now published in the leading Journal of Hepatology.

Towards an interferon-free therapy

The advances made in treating hepatitis are generally remarkable. Two new, direct acting antiviral substances (DAA/"Direct Acting Antiviral Therapy") have been submitted for licensing not only in Europe but also in the USA (Simeprevir and Sofosbuvir), and will, according to Hofer, also be available in the foreseeable future. "For some of the patients this means that interferon-free therapy is becoming a reality outside clinical trials as well."

Current standard treatment is a combination therapy with interferon-alpha, which possesses an immune-stimulating, . In cases of hepatitis C interferon is injected once a week over a period of up to twelve months – although with undesirable side effects such as aching limbs, fever, headaches, as well as depressive episodes or malfunctions of the thyroid. The advantage of direct (DAA) is that it acts directly on the hepatitis C virus and is thus more effective – with fewer side effects.

Explore further: Antiviral therapy may halve risk of liver cancer after chronic hepatitis C infection

More information: "A Diagnostic Score for the Prediction of Spontaneous Resolution of Acute Hepatitis C Virus Infection." Beinhardt S, Anna Payer B, Datz C, Strasser M, Maieron A, Dorn L, Grilnberger-Franz E, Dulic-Lakovic E, Stauber R, Laferl H, H Aberle J, Holzmann H, Krall C, Vogel W, Ferenci P, Hofer H. J Hepatol. 2013 Jul 10. pii: S0168-8278(13)00446-7. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2013.06.028

Further publications:

"Effect of gender and ITPA polymorphisms on ribavirin-induced anemia in chronic hepatitis C patients." Scherzer TM, Stättermayer AF, Stauber R, Maieron A, Strasser M, Laferl H, Schwarzer R, Datz C, Rutter K, Beinhardt S, Munda P, Hofer H, Ferenci P. . J Hepatol. 2013 Jul 10. doi:pii:S0168-8278(13)00448-0. 10.1016/j.jhep.2013.06.030

"Durability of SVR in chronic hepatitis C patients treated with peginterferon-?2a/ribavirin in combination with a direct-acting anti-viral." Rutter K, Hofer H, Beinhardt S, Dulic M, Gschwantler M, Maieron A, Laferl H, Stättermayer AF, Scherzer TM, Strassl R, Holzmann H, Steindl-Munda P, Ferenci. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jul;38(2):118-23. doi: 10.1111/apt.12350

"Role of FDFT1 polymorphisms for fibrosis progression in patients with chronic hepatitis C." Stättermayer AF, Rutter K, Beinhardt S, Wrba F, Scherzer TM, Strasser M, Hofer H, Steindl-Munda P, Trauner M, Ferenci P. Liver Int. 2013 (in press).

Related Stories

Antiviral therapy may halve risk of liver cancer after chronic hepatitis C infection

October 22, 2012
Treating chronic hepatitis C infection with antiviral drugs could halve the risk of developing the most common form of liver cancer, in some cases, indicates an analysis of the published research in one of the new BMJ Open ...

Combination of oral drugs suppresses common type of hepatitis C

January 19, 2012
A new combination of investigational drugs successfully suppressed hepatitis C genotype 1 infection in a high percent of patients who had not responded to previous treatment in a study led by a University of Michigan hepatologist.

Chronic hepatitis C: Interferon may be harmful in re-treatment

January 30, 2013
People with hepatitis C and chronic liver disease who relapsed or failed to respond to initial treatment are unlikely to improve on interferon retreatment. In fact, they may face an increased risk of dying sooner, and are ...

Pharmaceutical advances offer new options for health outcomes

May 20, 2013
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores pharmaceutical advances for treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) and hepatitis C.

New focus to combat rising liver disease

July 26, 2013
University of Adelaide researchers are investigating how the liver responds to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and why some people can control the virus while others can't. The aim is to find better therapies to combat hepatitis ...

Antiviral therapy may cut recurrence of hepatitis B-linked liver cancer

November 12, 2012
(HealthDay)—People with liver cancer tied to infection with the hepatitis B virus who got antiviral therapy after cancer surgery had a lower risk of tumor recurrence than those who did not get it, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

New hope for cystic fibrosis

October 19, 2018
A new triple-combination drug treatment being trialled at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane could increase the life expectancy of patients with cystic fibrosis.

Bug guts shed light on Central America Chagas disease

October 18, 2018
In Central America, Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is spread by the "kissing bug" Triatoma dimidiata. By collecting DNA from the guts of these bugs, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases ...

Rapid genomic sequencing of Lassa virus in Nigeria enabled real-time response to 2018 outbreak

October 18, 2018
Mounting a collaborative, real-time response to a Lassa fever outbreak in early 2018, doctors and scientists in Nigeria teamed up with researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and colleagues to rapidly sequence the ...

Researchers cure drug-resistant infections without antibiotics

October 17, 2018
Biochemists, microbiologists, drug discovery experts and infectious disease doctors have teamed up in a new study that shows antibiotics are not always necessary to cure sepsis in mice. Instead of killing causative bacteria ...

Infectious disease consultation significantly reduces mortality of patients with bloodstream yeast infections

October 17, 2018
In a retrospective cohort study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases, patients with candidemia—a yeast infection in the bloodstream—had more positive outcomes as they relate ...

How drug resistant TB evolved and spread globally

October 17, 2018
The most common form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) originated in Europe and spread to Asia, Africa and the Americas with European explorers and colonialists, reveals a new study led by UCL and the Norwegian Institute ...

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.