Liver Hepatitis C Living Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are test periods for new drugs or therapies that haven’t yet been proven effective in humans. Participants volunteer to undergo new treatments, and are often separated into groups to compare the effectiveness of the new treatments to a non-treatment group, or to a current accepted treatment. Numerous hepatitis clinical trials are currently underway to improve treatment options for hepatitis C.

What’s Wrong with Current Treatments?

Antiviral treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin is a common course of hepatitis C treatment. However, these medications aren’t effective for everyone, particularly those with certain hepatitis C genotypes that are less responsive to treatment. In addition, the long duration of antiviral therapy and its potentially intense side effects make antiviral therapy difficult for some individuals with hepatitis C.

Through this research, hepatitis C treatment outcomes can be improved for these patients.

Hepatitis C Trials: Combination Therapy

Treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin is the most effective known antiviral treatment for hepatitis C. New hepatitis clinical trials are addressing additions to current combination therapy.

Drugs currently approved for other uses are under investigation as part of combination treatment for hepatitis C. These include:

  • Infliximab, a drug used to treat inflammatory or autoimmune disorders
  • Nitazoxanide, currently approved to treat intestinal parasites
  • Oglufanide disodium, currently approved as an immune system regulator and infection control agent.

These clinical trials usually involve one group receiving peginterferon and ribavirin, while the other group receives both these medications along with the drug under investigation.

Hepatitis C Virus Replication

While some hepatitis C trials target the efficacy of combination therapy, others address the replication and proliferation of the hepatitis C virus in the body. These treatments target a number of enzymes and areas of the hepatitis C virus genome, including:

  • Helicase
  • Interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR)
  • Internal ribosomal entry site (IRES)
  • Protease RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.

What if I Want to be Part of a Hepatitis Clinical Trial?

After discussing your treatment options with your doctor, you may decide to be part of a clinical trial. Your doctor can help you find appropriate hepatitis C trials recruiting near you. When you volunteer for a hepatitis C clinical trial, ask about possible side effects of the drug being tested and the risks associated with being among the first to try a new drug.

Though successful treatment through a clinical trial is possible, remember that positive results aren’t guaranteed when you take a new drug.

Resources

Centers for the Study of Hepatitis C. (n.d.). Hepatitis C clinical trials. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.hepccenter.org/clinical_trial/.

Gish, R. (2003). The future of western treatment for hepatitis C. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hcsp/articles/gish.html.

Medical News Today. (2007). Drug in new hepatitis C clinical trial. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/80603.php.

New York Times Health Guide. (2008). Selected studies: Hepatitis C. retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-hepatitisC-trials.html.

U.S. National Institutes of Health. (2009). Adding nitazoxanide to treatment for people with hepatitis C virus and HIV coinfection. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00991289.

U.S. National Institutes of Health. (2010). Effect of infliximab on the efficacy of peg-intron/ribavirin in patients with hepatitis C. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00237484?term=hepatitis C