Liver Hepatitis C Treatment New

In recent years, the antiviral combination of pegylated interferon (peginterferon) and ribavirin has proven effective for treating hepatitis C in many individuals. However, researchers continue to investigate new additive and alternative hepatitis C treatment options to improve survival rates for people infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Drug Research and Hepatitis C Treatment

Though current antiviral therapy is effective for many patients, it doesn’t always eliminate the virus completely. In addition, some genotypes of the hepatitis C virus are less responsive to treatment than others, indicating a need for further research. Hepatitis C combination treatments continue to evolve and improve.

Some recent hepatitis C treatment research addresses new types of combination therapies. For example, infliximab, a drug used to treat inflammatory or autoimmune disorders, is under investigation as part of a combination treatment (with peginterferon and ribavirin) for hepatitis C.

Other trials focus on treatment for those with both hepatitis C and HIV. Nitazoxanide — a drug currently approved to treat intestinal parasites — is in the clinical trial phase of investigation. Preliminary research results from an ongoing National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study (2010) indicate that when combined with peginterferon and ribavirin treatment, nitazoxanide may improve outcomes for people co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV, with fewer side effects.

Emerging Research: Hepatitis C Treatment

Other new hepatitis C research has yielded positive results for diagnosing, treating and preventing the hepatitis C virus.

In 2005, researchers created liver cell cultures to investigate the various hepatitis C virus genotypes outside the body (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2006). Since that point, the ability to reproduce hepatitis C in a laboratory setting continues to improve, facilitating research into new treatments and vaccines for the hepatitis C virus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a rapid hepatitis C virus antibody test in 2010. This test allows for nearly immediate results, allowing people at high risk for hepatitis C to quickly determine whether they need further testing, evaluation and treatment.

Researchers are also discovering hepatitis C virus inhibitors that prevent the virus from replicating. These inhibitors bind to specific regions of the virus’ RNA present in all genotypes of the virus. So, inhibitors may be effective for hepatitis C genotypes that prove resistant to other therapies.

Your genetic makeup may be predictive of how responsive you’ll be to treatment for specific types of hepatitis C. Further development of genetic marker testing can help your healthcare providers make decisions about treatment.

Resources

Food and Drug Administration. (2010). Ora-quick rapid HCV antibody test-P080027. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovalsandClearances/Recently-ApprovedDevices/ucm220489.htm.

HCV Advocate. (2010). Newsletter archives. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from http://www.hcvadvocate.org/news/newsletter_2010.asp.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2006). Chronic hepatitis C: Current disease management. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/chronichepc/#g.

New York Times Health Guide. (2008). Selected studies: Hepatitis C. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-hepatitisC-trials.html.

ScienceDaily. (2010). Potential new target for treating hepatitis C. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329152529.htm.

U.S. National Institutes of Health. (2009). Adding nitazoxanide to treatment for people with hepatitis C virus and HIV co-infection. Retrieved October 5, 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 5, 2010, from http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00237484?term=hepatitis C