Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hepatitis C In The News :Genetic Risk to Liver Cirrhosis And Liver Cancer Treatment

My Epidemic

Reporter Meg Heckman shares her experience living with hepatitis C.

Read Online Dec 16th / Hepatitis C: By Meg Heckman Infected at Birth Follow The Six Part Series

Gene variation linked to liver cirrhosis in alcoholic caucasians

16. December 2010 08:22
A new study by German researchers found that a variation in the PNPLA3 (adiponutrin) gene was associated with cirrhosis of the liver and elevated transaminase (liver enzyme) levels in alcoholic Caucasians. The risk of cirrhosis in alcoholics in the genetic high risk group might be as high as 25 to 50%.

Full findings are published in the January 2011 issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD)—ranging from alcoholic fatty liver to alcohol induced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis—accounts for more than 50% all chronic liver disease in industrialized countries and was responsible for over 25,000 deaths in the U.S. alone in 2005. Studies have shown that while all heavy drinkers display signs of hepatitis steatosis (fatty liver), only 10% to 35% of alcoholics develop hepatic inflammation, with up to 20% progressing to cirrhosis. Further medical evidence suggests a link between PNPLA3 gene variation and liver fat content; specifically the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs738409 was reported previously to be associated with advanced alcoholic liver disease in alcohol-dependent individuals of European and Native American descent

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Liver Cancer In Cirrhotic Patients Effectively Treated With Radiofrequency Ablation
Posted on: Thursday, 16 December 2010, 13:35 CST
RFA highly valuable therapy for controlling cancerous nodules
Researchers from Italy determined that radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a safe and effective therapy for managing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhotic patients. The high repeatability of RFA is advantageous in controlling recurrences of cancerous tumors in the liver. Results of this 10-year retrospective study are available in the January 2011 issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

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Ontarians deserve better access to treatment for hepatitis B and C
December 16, 2010
Toronto - Hepatitis B and C are insidious diseases that have few symptoms until they reach an advanced and
potentially fatal stage. The time it takes for these diseases to cause cirrhosis or liver cancer may be anywhere from two to 20 years — more than enough time to intervene. Simple blood tests can identify the hepatitis B and C viruses and yet these tests are not a standard part of annual physicals. Effective treatments also exist for both chronic hepatitis B and C but they are not always accessible to those who need them. With the recent Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) study ranking hepatitis B and C in the top five most burdensome infectious diseases, the Canadian Liver Foundation is calling upon the provincial government to establish standardized screening protocols and to make

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Amarillo Biosciences, Inc. (ABI) (OTCBB: AMAR) today announced that enrollment in a Phase 2 clinical trial of 165 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection is now complete.

The clinical trial is being conducted in Taiwan and funded by ABI's strategic partner, CytoPharm, Inc. The aim of the study is to reduce the virologic relapse rate for those patients who have successfully completed standard combination therapy for hepatitis C, which consists of injectable interferon alpha and Ribavirin.
Many patients with hepatitis C are found to be virus-free at the end of standard therapy, but up to half of those with certain viral genotypes relapse in the six months following treatment, once again becoming positive for hepatitis C virus. There are currently no FDA-approved medications shown to reduce the relapse rate for hepatitis C patients, so there is a clear medical need for effective new therapies...

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As Evidence Grows for Role of microRNAs in Disease, Drugmakers Focus on Select Targets
December 16, 2010

By Doug Macron
As the literature describing associations between microRNAs and disease states continues to grow, so too does the number of potential therapeutic targets for molecules that either inhibit or mimic the small, non-coding RNAs.
In just the first two weeks of December, for example, at least seven papers have been published linking specific miRNAs or miRNA clusters to conditions including synovial sarcoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and obesity.
Still, in most cases the data are early-stage, and thus far only a handful of miRNAs have made it into the pipelines of companies in the field. And to date, only one miRNA-targeting drug, Santaris Pharma's phase II hepatitis C therapy miravirsen, which targets miR-122, has been tested in humans.

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EMA Reviewing Drug Class That Includes Pfizer’s Thelin

December 16, 2010, 1:02 PM EST

By Kristen Hallam
(Adds agency comment in second paragraph.)
Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Europe’s drug regulator is reviewing a class of medicines that includes Actelion Ltd.’s Tracleer and Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Letairis after Pfizer Inc. pulled a treatment from the market because it was linked to potentially life-threatening liver damage.
The drugs are used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a potentially fatal condition that causes high blood pressure in the artery moving blood from the heart to the lungs. Pfizer’s Thelin may have led to two cases of fatal liver injury, the European Medicines Agency said in an e-mailed statement today.

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In case you missed it

From Reuters Health Information
Nucleoside Analogues Slow Liver Fibrosis Progression in Chronic Hepatitis B

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 10 - Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues as part of an anti-HIV regimen slow the progression of liver fibrosis in patients coinfected with hepatitis B (HBV), researchers from Spain report online in the January 2, 2011 issue of AIDS
Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues often form a part of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV, but whether prolonged use of these agents influences the long-term markers of liver disease in patients coinfected with both viruses hasn't been studied before now.

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Hepatitis B and C - Top News Articles Posted December 14, 2010
Pre-treatment with Ribavirin Improves Response to Interferon-based Therapy for Hepatitis C
Does Previous Hepatitis B Exposure Increase Liver Cancer Risk?
Artificial Liver Device Improves Survival for Hepatitis B and C Patients with Decompensated Disease

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