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Hep C Breakthrough

By on April 28, 2013

Good news for those living with Hepatitis C!

Researchers say that extended use of the drug sofosbuvir resulted in a high cure rate in two  subtypes of hepatitis C that account for 25 percent of U.S. cases. This is promising for those seeking drug therapy options. Hepatitis C infection is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Infection with hepatitis C may damage the liver leading to chronic infection.

Lead investigator Dr. Ira Jacobson of Weill Cornell Medical College  said 207 patients enrolled in the clinical trial of sofosbuvir, known as  POSITRON, because they either did not respond to interferon, could not tolerate  it or were unwilling to use it, even though no other treatment options were  available to them.

“The new sofosbuvir therapy offers a much-needed alternative to standard  therapy with interferon, which can cause significant side effects for hepatitis  C patients,” Jacobson said. “We have dreamed for years of being  able to eliminate interferon from our hepatitis C regimens and this study is one  of several that are finally bringing us very close to realizing that goal.”

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found for  genotype 2, 12 weeks of treatment resulted in response rates of 86 percent,  compared to 94 percent for 16 weeks of treatment. For genotype 3, the response  rates were 30 percent for 12 weeks and 62 percent for 16 weeks.

“This new treatment represents a paradigm shift in the way that hepatitis C  is going to be treated,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson estimated as many as half of patients with hepatitis C infection  either can’t use interferon or don’t want to use it because of side effects. The journal publication coincides with a presentation of the findings at the  International Liver Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


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