Hepatitis C progress in pipeline-New drugs to treat virus expected be available in 2014-15


Hepatitis C progress in pipeline
New drugs to treat virus expected be available in 2014-15



January 30, 2013 

For more on this rapidly changing landscape, we turned to Dr. Donald M. Jensen, director of the Center for Liver Diseases at University of Chicago Medicine and a noted hepatitis C researcher, with more than 100 peer-reviewed articles .
Q: Tell me about the new drugs and what they mean for patients.

A: In May 2011, two new drugs were approved — telaprevir and boceprevir — and were added to the backbone of interferon, which has been around since the early 1990s, and ribavirin (since 1998), and have always been the standard of care. The old therapy had a lot of side effects — such as aches, severe fatigue and depression. Even then, the cure rate was only about 40 percent.

Q: Did the new drugs eliminate the nasty side effects? 
A: No. Sometimes, it aggravated them ... with anemia and a skin rash. It wasn't pleasant, but the success rate jumped to 70 percent, which was nothing to scoff at. But now there are even better drugs in the pipeline, such as Sofosbuvir, Daclatasvir, Simeprevir, Faldaprevir, ABT450, Danoprevir, Apeline, which should be available in the 2014-15 time frame. The treatment is shorter — 12 to 24 weeks vs. 24 to 48 weeks — and has fewer side effects and even better success rates (90 to100 percent cure rates). Many patients with mild cases are deciding to wait.

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Related

Is The HCV Pipeline Heading in the Right Direction? - Commentary
24 January 2013

Andrew Aronsohn, Andrew J. Muir, Donald Jensen
 
Will All Patients Be Able to Be Treated Without Interferon?

Interferon-free HCV therapy will represent a breakthrough in HCV treatment. Trials to date are encouraging, but have begun to reveal important interactions between drug, host, and virus that need to be better understood before interferon-free therapy becomes a mainstay of treatment. Previously unidentified host and viral characteristics may create a requirement for interferon-based therapy for some, raising the possibility that all oral regimens may not be appropriate for all patients. In addition, the cost of newly developed interferon-free regimens may be prohibitive, especially in many resource-limited regions of the world. Enthusiasm over the possibility of an "all-oral" cure for HCV must be balanced with realization that cost of therapy will create a disparity among those who can receive interferon-free therapy and those who do not have access. HCV will carry an extensive global burden of disease, even in an interferon-free era, if efforts are not made to diminish this disparity....

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