WOWT Channel 6 (Omaha) (01.09.2014)
Aids Weekly Plus
WOWT 6 reported that the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), a regional referral center for hepatitis C virus (HCV), would be part of the international Hepatitis C Therapeutic Registry and Research Network, also known as HCV-TARGET. In partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration and with support from pharmaceutical companies, the network will track thousands of patients throughout the next five years to identify which new HCV drugs are most effective and cause the fewest side effects. The network consisted of 103 sites in 31 US states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Europe.
According to Dr. Mark Mailliard, chief of UNMC’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, most of the drugs currently used to treat HCV—including interferon and ribavirin—had side effects and required injections. In contrast, drugs that would reach the market within the next five years will be more effective, not require injection, and have fewer side effects. Mailliard stated that the registry would collect information about which drugs were best for specific patients. Any patient taking the newer medications would be eligible to participate in the registry.
Mailliard reported that the registry already had studied 2,000 patients and provided outcome data on more than 120 patients. The “treatment success rate was significantly better than the average rate.” Mailliard asserted that new treatments would reduce the risk for liver cancer and liver failure among hepatitis C patients.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus usually spread by sharing needles or syringes. Prior to 1992, when widespread blood supply screening began, blood transfusions also spread hepatitis C. Most hepatitis C-infected people in the United States are unaware of their infection. CDC reported 12,000 hepatitis C-related deaths annually. Baby boomers are the group most likely to have hepatitis C.