Showing posts with label transplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transplant. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2018

HCV Next October Issue - Research continues to invalidate link between DAA treatment, liver cancer

HCV NEXT September/October Issue
Greetings, the following articles appeared in this months issue of HCV NEXT, published online over at Healio.

Table of Contents
HCV vaccine could reduce transmission in people who inject drugs

AASLD invests $4.06 million in liver disease research, development

Cover Story
HCV-Positive Organs: A Viable Option for Uninfected Transplant Patients

In the Journals
Research continues to invalidate link between DAA treatment, liver cancer

Novel ‘genotype 8’ surfaces among four patients with HCV

Treating HCV in prison ‘microenvironment’ reduces transmission

Heart transplant with HCV-positive organs successful, virus cleared

In the Journals Plus

Children lose out on liver transplants, study finds

“Children with chronic liver disease who are in need of transplant may be at a disadvantage compared with adults in a similar situation,” they wrote in their report, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Children lose out on liver transplants, study finds
by Maggie Fox / Sep.17.2018
The system for allocating liver transplants is stacked against kids, a new study finds.

Children who need lifesaving liver transplants are losing out to adults, according to a new study released Monday.

A system used to determine who is most in need of a transplant significantly underestimates the risk of death for younger children with liver disease, the team at the University of Pittsburgh found
Continue reading....

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Canadian team reports success in transplanting hepatitis C organs

Toronto doctors safely transplant lungs from hepatitis C-infected donors
by Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press
Last Updated Jun 14, 2018 at 8:24 am EDT

Toronto doctors have successfully transplanted lungs from deceased donors with hepatitis C into patients in need of the lifesaving organs, followed by treatment to prevent them from becoming infected with the potentially liver-destroying virus.

Since October, surgeons at Toronto General Hospital have performed the transplants in 11 patients as part of a pilot study to evaluate the safety of using lungs from hepatitis C-infected donors — a previously untenable idea.

That’s because antiviral drugs can now cure the disease in 98 per cent of people infected with hepatitis C, which affects an estimated 250,000 Canadians, about 40 to 70 per cent of them unaware they harbour the blood-borne virus.

“With the opioid crisis and persistent high rates of intravenous drug use, we have a great number of potential lung donors who are hepatitis C-positive, many of whom didn’t even know they were sick when they were alive,” said Dr. Marcelo Cypel, a thoracic surgeon at TGH and principal investigator of the study.

Canadian team reports success in transplanting hepatitis C organs
WASHINGTON: A long-running shortage in donor organs has pushed doctors to find ways to use those with hepatitis C, an infection that is increasingly common in the United States due to the opioid crisis, and which can be cured with medicine.

Some US hospitals, particularly in Boston, have already transplanted infected donor organs into people without hepatitis C. These patients are swiftly treated with drugs to eliminate the virus.

In Toronto, Canada, another team of doctors on Thursday announced early results from a trial using a different technique, involving 10 people who received lung transplants from donors with hepatitis C.

Continue reading: 

Friday, June 8, 2018

HCV/HIV-coinfection - Successful direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatment before and after liver transplantation

PLOS ONESuccessful direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatment of HCV/HIV-coinfected patients before and after liver transplantation
Julia M. Grottenthaler, Christoph R. Werner, Martina Steurer, Ulrich Spengler, Thomas Berg, Cornelius Engelmann, Heiner Wedemeyer, Thomas von Hahn, Wolfgang Stremmel, Anita Pathil, Ulrich Seybold, Eckart Schott, Usha Blessin, Christoph P. Berg

Published: June 6, 2018 


The aim of this multicenter retrospective study was to investigate safety and efficacy of direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatment in the rare subgroup of patients with HCV/HIV-coinfection and advanced liver cirrhosis on the liver transplant waiting list or after liver transplantation, respectively.

When contacting 54 German liver centers (including all 23 German liver transplant centers), 12 HCV/HIV-coinfected patients on antiretroviral combination therapy were reported having received additional DAA therapy while being on the waiting list for liver transplantation (patient characteristics: Child-Pugh A (n = 6), B (n = 5), C (n = 1); MELD range 7–21; HCC (n = 2); HCV genotype 1a (n = 8), 1b (n = 2), 4 (n = 2)). Furthermore, 2 HCV/HIV-coinfected patients were denoted having received DAA therapy after liver transplantation (characteristics: HCV genotype 1a (n = 1), 4 (n = 1)).

Applied DAA regimens were SOF/DAC (n = 7), SOF/LDV/RBV (n = 3), SOF/RBV (n = 3), PTV/r/OBV/DSV (n = 1), or PTV/r/OBV/DSV/RBV (n = 1), respectively. All patients achieved SVR 12, in the end. In one patient, HCV relapse occurred after 24 weeks of SOF/DAC therapy; subsequent treatment with 12 weeks PTV/r/OBV/DSV achieved SVR 12. One patient underwent liver transplantation while on DAA treatment. Analysis of liver function revealed either stable parameters or even significant improvement during DAA therapy and in follow-up. MELD scores were found to improve in 9/13 therapies in patients on the waiting list for liver transplantation; in only 2 patients a moderate increase of MELD scores persisted at the end of follow-up.

DAA treatment was safe and highly effective in this nation-wide cohort of patients with HCV/HIV-coinfection awaiting liver transplantation or being transplanted.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Editorial - If Hepatitis C therapy is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it?

If Hepatitis C therapy is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it? 
Robert S. Brown, Jr., M.D., M.P.H
Am J Transplant. [Epub ahead of print]
First published: 04 June 2018
In this issue of the journal, Drs. Axelrod et al. aimed to investigate the impact of direct-acting antiviral agents for Hepatitis C (HCV) on liver and kidney transplant outcomes and cost for HCV positive patients.

Download PDF Article 
Given that hepatitis C therapy is recommended for all patients who do not have a short life expectancy, certainly all transplant recipients should be treated for hepatitis C in the early post-transplant period prior to developing any significant liver disease in the liver allograft or progressive disease in the renal transplant recipient. Early therapy would also prevent any cases of cholestatic hepatitis. Given that hepatitis C therapy is likely cost-effective in the non-transplant setting, it would certainly be cost-effective in the transplant setting. One would hope that we are doing better with pangenotypic lower cost DAA options with fewer drug-drug interactions now available. Given the WHO's recommendation for HCV elimination by 2030, the fact that the transplant community has not been able to eliminate HCV in our transplant recipients remains a concern. Better education of our providers, advocacy for our patients, and better access to medications are the only solution to this problem. I certainly hope we get there soon.
Continue reading: Download PDF Article 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis receiving liver transplants

More patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis receiving liver transplants
Medical centers willing to perform transplants without mandated six-month wait

Washington, DC (May 22, 2018) -- Increasingly, liver transplant centers are changing a long-standing practice of delaying potentially life-saving liver transplantation for patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis until after they stopped drinking alcohol for six months, according to a new study scheduled for presentation at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2018.

Study implications
"Liver transplant for severe alcoholic hepatitis is being increasingly accepted, with positive outcomes, and the hope is that more and more patients will be evaluated for transplants," said Saroja Bangaru, MD, chief resident in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and co-author of the study. "The hope is that survival rates are encouraging enough for centers, so that even more of them will reverse past practices."

Severe alcoholic hepatitis has an extremely high mortality rate. The primary treatment option has been the use of steroids, predominantly prednisolone. But, many patients do not respond to steroids, and a significant percentage of them will die within three months.

Historically, centers would not perform transplants until patients had stopped drinking for six months due to concerns about a return to drinking after transplant. Additionally, there was a perceived high risk that patient's continued drinking would cause them to miss medical appointments and failure to take their immunosuppressant medications, which prevent organ rejection, all of which could contribute to transplant failure.

Only in recent years have limited studies begun to show greater success for transplants for severe alcoholic hepatitis, Bangaru said. These studies have also shown that a variety of other factors -- aside from recent drinking -- influence whether a patient relapses. These include whether the patient has good social support, suffers from psychiatric ailments and accepts that they have an alcohol problem. "These studies suggest that predicting risk of relapse is much more complicated than just duration of abstinence," Bangaru said.

Study design and results
Researchers gathered data from 45 transplant centers, of which 23 said they were now performing such transplants. Among those, 17 centers reported that patients had a one-year survival rate of more than 90 percent, which is higher than that reported in several previous studies.

The survey found that centers have become more willing to perform transplants, as long as patients are carefully screened. Researchers reported that centers use highly selective criteria in approving candidates for transplant, assessing their medical history, social support system and whether they have additional health problems, particularly psychiatric disorders.

"If patients are selected well, according to these criteria, it allows for the excellent survival that we are seeing post-transplant," Bangaru said. Past policy has done a disservice to those patients who were previously unaware that they had liver disease. "Some patients come in for the first time with severe alcoholic hepatitis, and no one has ever told them to stop drinking. Because they are not eligible for transplant, they have a really high mortality rate."

The survey also concluded that most transplant centers had "inadequate" post-transplant support for patients. While most offered the services of social workers, only a limited number provided psychiatric or group therapy support that could be very important in helping patients avoid relapse and further medical problems.

Next steps
Dr. Bangaru said further study is needed to encourage more transplants, in particular a controlled clinical trial that follows survival rates over one, three and five years, along with an assessment of rates of alcoholic relapse.

DDW presentation details
Dr. Saroja Bangaru will present data from the study, "Increased use of liver transplantation as therapeutic option for severe alcoholic hepatitis," abstract Sa1457, on Saturday, June 2, at noon EDT. For more information about featured studies, as well as a schedule of availability for featured researchers, please visit

Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), DDW takes place June 2-5 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. 
More information can be found at

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Life of a liver awaiting transplantation - Machine that preserves livers might offer a way forward

18 April 2018

Life of a liver awaiting transplantation
Stefan Schneeberger
People waiting for a liver transplant can die before an organ is found, or, if one is available but of poor quality, there is a risk of transplant failure. A machine that preserves livers might offer a way forward.

The concept of machine perfusion of an organ awaiting transplantation is not new. Indeed, machine-assisted perfusion was in use before cold storage became the method of choice owing to its simplicity and reproducibility2. However, interest in revisiting perfusion as a transplant approach has been gaining momentum.

The main outcome monitored in the latest trial was the post-transplantation level of the enzyme aspartate transaminase in patients’ blood. This measurement is commonly used to assess liver damage and to estimate the risk of transplant failure. The authors found that the use of NMP was associated with less liver damage than that found in livers preserved on ice. Moreover, preservation by NMP reduced the number of organs that were discarded as unsuitable for transplantation compared with livers preserved on ice, and was associated with a better blood-flow profile in the recipient.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: Overdose-Death Donors in Organ Transplantation

HIV and ID Observations
Hepatitis C Positive Organ Donors — Coming Soon to a Transplant Center Near You
There’s one immutable fact in solid organ transplantation — the number of patients awaiting transplant exceeds the number of available organs.
Continue reading...

Reuters Health
Organs from overdose-death donors a viable option for transplant
Last Updated: 2018-04-16
By Marilynn Larkin
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Transplantation with overdose-death donor (ODD) organs has increased dramatically in the U.S., with equivalent outcomes to non-ODD organs, and therefore these organs should not be routinely discarded, researchers in Maryland say.

"Most Americans know that the U.S. faces an epidemic of deaths due to drug overdose, and many are also aware that there is a critical shortage of organs available for transplant," Dr. Christine Durand of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore told Reuters Health.

"Perhaps less widely known is that today, more than one in every 10 deceased organ donors died from a drug overdose," she said by email.

"Patients who received transplants from these donors had excellent outcomes; patient survival and organ function were similar to cases when donors died due to trauma, and similar or better than cases when the donor died due to medical causes of death like heart attack or stroke," she added.

Dr. Durand and colleagues examined data from January 2000 to September 2017 on 138,565 deceased donors and 337,934 transplant recipients at 297 transplant centers in the U.S.

Ann Intern Med 2018
Editorial |17 April 2018
Nearly 115 000 candidates currently await organ transplantation in the United States (mostly kidneys [81%] and livers [12%]) (1). Because of the profound organ shortage, many candidates awaiting transplant experience significant morbidity and mortality each year. In this issue, Durand and colleagues (2) review the use of overdose-death donor (ODD) organ transplants involving 138 565 deceased donors and 337 934 solid organ transplant recipients from 2000 to 2017. The study used the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, which includes U.S. national data collected by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The authors found that ODD transplants increased 24-fold, from 149 in 2000 (1.1% of donors) to 3533 in 2016 (12.7% of donors). For the most part, outcomes with ODD organs were noninferior to those with organs from trauma-death donors (TDDs) and medical-death donors (MDDs). Compared with MDDs, ODDs were less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, or prior myocardial infarction but had slightly higher creatinine levels and were more likely to donate after circulatory death. Cold ischemic time of transplanted kidneys was similar across all donor types. In an adjusted analysis, recipients of ODD kidneys and livers had a lower risk for death than recipients of MDD organs and a similar risk for death and graft loss compared with recipients of TDD organs.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver transplantation - Where do we stand?

World J Gastroenterol. Apr 14, 2018; 24(14): 1491-1506
Published online Apr 14, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i14.1491

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver transplantation - Where do we stand?
Ivana Mikolasevic, Tajana Filipec-Kanizaj, Maja Mijic, Ivan Jakopcic, Sandra Milic, Irena Hrstic, Nikola Sobocan, Davor Stimac, Patrizia Burra

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) is a challenging and multisystem disease that has a high socioeconomic impact. NAFLD/NASH is a primary cause of macrovesicular steatosis and has several impacts on liver transplantation (LT), which is transmitted to transplant recipients and organ donors. Current data indicate a new trend in the area of chronic liver disease. Due to the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components, NASH cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma caused by NASH will soon become a major indication for LT.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#ILC2018 Alcoholic liver disease replaces hepatitis C infection as leading cause of liver transplantation in patients without hepatocellular carcinoma in the USA

Alcoholic liver disease replaces hepatitis C infection as the leading cause of liver transplantation in patients without hepatocellular carcinoma in the USA

European Association for the Study of the Liver
11 April 2018, Paris, France: Two independent studies have today reported that alcoholic liver disease has now replaced hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as the leading cause of liver transplantation in the USA in patients without HCC. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is also on the increase, now ranking second as a cause of liver transplantation due to chronic liver disease.

Chronic HCV infection has remained the leading indication for liver transplantation in the USA for the last two decades.1 However, the availability of second-generation direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) in late 2013 led to a decline in the number of HCV-related liver transplant waiting list registrations and surgeries from 2015 onwards.2,3 Alcohol consumption began to increase markedly in the US during the 1990s and early 2000s, with data highlighting dramatic rises in alcohol use and high-risk drinking in recent years.4

The two studies presented this week at The International Liver Congress™ 2018 in Paris, France, were conducted to evaluate recent trends in the aetiology of liver disease among liver transplant recipients in the USA in view of the changing landscape of potential risk factors. In the first study, data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) between 2005-2016 were analyzed, looking at four indications for chronic liver disease: alcoholic liver disease (ALD), NASH, HCV infection, and HCV/ALD combined. According to the results of the study, the number of liver transplant recipients with HCV peaked in 2014 (1,905 individuals) and has been declining ever since. In contrast, the number of liver transplants due to ALD and NASH has been steadily increasing and, in 2016, there were 1,624 liver transplants performed as a result of ALD, compared with 1,535 due to HCV, 1,334 due to NASH, and 424 due to HCV/ALD.

'Although we found that, overall, alcoholic liver disease became the leading indication for liver transplantation in the US in 2016, NASH was not far behind', said Dr Jennifer Wang from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, USA, who presented the study findings. 'Importantly, NASH is now the leading cause of liver transplantation in women, which is not entirely surprising given the higher rates of metabolic syndrome in women and the resultant increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease'.

'In African Americans and those with hepatocellular carcinoma, HCV remains the leading cause of transplantation and a major burden'.

The second study presented today also evaluated data from the UNOS registry, looking at first liver transplants performed in individuals without HCC between January 2012 and October 2017. As in the first study, HCV infection remained the leading aetiology for liver transplant recipients until 2016, when ALD surpassed it, accounting for 24% of liver transplants performed compared with 19% for NASH and 18% for HCV. In 2017, ALD, NASH, and HCV were responsible for 24%, 18%, and 17% of liver transplants, respectively, according to the results of this study.

'One of our most worrying findings was that patients with ALD are being listed for liver transplantation at a much younger age and with more severe disease than patients with either HCV infection or NASH', said investigator, Dr George Cholankeril from Stanford University Medical Center, California, USA. 'These are very ominous trends and we need to take aggressive action to address these rising rates of liver transplantation in patients with alcoholic liver disease'.

'So far, alcoholic liver disease has received much less attention with regards to clinical and basic research than either hepatitis B or C',5 said Prof. Helena Cortez-Pinto from the University Hospital of Santa Maria, Lisbon, Portugal, and EASL Governing Board Member. 'It is time to change and turn our attention to ALD, both in research and of course in policies that have been shown to reduce consumption, such as increases in taxation, in order to decrease affordability'.

About The International Liver Congress™
This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Attending specialists present, share, debate and conclude on the latest science and research in hepatology, working to enhance the treatment and management of liver disease in clinical practice. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. The International Liver Congress™ 2018 will take place from 11¬-15 April 2018 at the Paris Convention Centre, Paris, France.

About The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)
Since its foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organization has grown to over 4,000 members from all over the world, including many of the leading hepatologists in Europe and beyond. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, having evolved into a major European association with international influence, and with an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Onsite location reference
Session title: Poster presentations Time, date and location of session: Poster area (Hall 7.2) Presenters: Jennifer Wang and George Cholankeril, USA Abstracts: Alcoholic liver disease surpasses hepatitis C virus in 2016 to become the leading indication for liver transplantation among adults without hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States (13 April 2018 9:00-17:00) and Alcoholic liver disease replaces HCV infection as the leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States (14 April 09:00-17:00)

Author disclosures
Jennifer Wang: None reported
Robert Gish: Dr. Gish has received Grants/Research Support from AbbVie, Benitec Biopharma, Gilead Sciences, and Merck & Co. Dr. Gish has performed as Consultant and/or Advisor to AbbVie, Akshaya Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Hoffman-LaRoche, Ltd., Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Janssen, Merck & Co., Nanogen Biopharmaceutical, and Presidio Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Gish has current activity with the scientific or clinical advisory boards of AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Janssen, Merck & Co., and Nanogen Biopharmaceutical. Dr. Gish is a member of the Speakers Bureau for AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, and Merck. Dr. Gish is a minor stock shareholder of Cocrystal Pharma.

Benny Liu: None reported Taft Bhuket: None reported
Robert Wong: Dr Wong receives research funding from Gilead Sciences and AbbVie, has served as a consultant and member of the advisory board for Gilead Sciences, and serves on the speaker's bureau for Gilead Sciences, Salix, and Bayer. Dr Wong is also funded by an AASLD Foundational Clinical and Translational Research Award in Liver Diseases.

George Cholankeril and co-authors: None reported
References 1. Cholankeril G, Ahmed A. Alcoholic liver disease replaces hepatitis C virus infection as the leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.11.045 [Epub ahead of print].

2. Goldberg D, et al. Changes in the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and alcoholic liver disease among patients with cirrhosis or liver failure on the waitlist for liver transplantation. Gastroenterology. 2017;152(5):1090-9.e1.

3. Flemming JA, et al. Reduction in liver transplant wait-listing in the era of direct-acting antiviral therapy. Hepatology. 2017;65(3):804-12.

4. Grant BF, et al. Prevalence of 12-month alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder in the United States, 2001-2002 to 2012-2013: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(9):911-23.

5. Ndugga, N, et al. Disparities between research attention and burden in liver diseases: implications on uneven advances in pharmacological therapies in Europe and the USA. BMJ Open. 2017;7(3):e013620; doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013620 [Epub ahead of print].

Monday, March 19, 2018

March 2018 Webinar: Overview of living-donor liver transplants

Webinar: Living-Donor Organ Transplant
On Thursday, March 8th ALF offered a webinar focused on living-donor liver transplants. Swaytha Ganesh, M.D., medical director of the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC) Living Donor Transplant Program, provided an overview of living-donor liver donation, including the process and considerations for donors and recipients. A parent advocate also shared her daughter’s story and strategies she used to find a living donor, and a patient who provided a living organ donation to his brother shared their story.

To watch a recording of the informative presentation, click here.

Monday, March 5, 2018

One year posttransplant, recipients of hepatitis C kidneys disease-free

One year posttransplant, recipients of hepatitis C kidneys disease-free
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Study: Published in Annals of Internal Medicine

In a small study, doctors at Johns Hopkins have successfully transplanted 10 hepatitis C-infected kidneys into patients without hepatitis C and prevented the patients from becoming infected by hepatitis C. The success of these transplants could mean more organs being available for the nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

"Right now, most of the usable organs from donors with hepatitis C are discarded because there are very few hepatitis C-positive recipients on the waiting list," says Niraj Desai, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the new paper, published in Annals of Internal Medicine. "Figuring out how to use these kidneys is a way to do more transplants and save more lives."

Until recently, treating hepatitis C was difficult; treatment regiments often included weekly injections, led to serious side effects that not all patients could tolerate and didn't cure all cases of the viral infection. That meant that organs -- including kidneys -- from hepatitis C-positive people were considered too high-risk to transplant into patients without the virus.

Around 500 hepatitis C-positive kidneys are discarded from organ donors in the U.S. every year, Desai says. And hundreds more may never make it to a recipient because some organ procurement organizations don't procure the kidneys in the first place due to the lack of a suitable recipient.

In the past seven years, however, a handful of new direct-acting antivirals have hit the market; the drugs cure more than 95 percent of all hepatitis C cases and carry few side effects. Desai and his colleagues thought it was time to try taking advantage of the new drugs to pave the way for using hepatitis C-positive kidneys for transplants.

"In this era of organ shortages, it's difficult to watch good organs get discarded," says Christine Durand, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "This was a great opportunity to take a neglected public health resource and put it to good use."

Desai, Durand and their colleagues approached patients over age 50 who were awaiting kidney transplants, had no previous transplants and no available living donors, and were negative for hepatitis C as well as HIV and hepatitis B. Ten patients agreed to receive hepatitis C-positive kidneys. Their average age was 71 and they had been on the transplant waiting list an average of four months. All donor kidneys were recovered from donors aged 13 through 50, tested positive for hepatitis C and showed no evidence of kidney disease. The donors' blood was tested for strain and quantity of hepatitis C virus.

Each recipient received a dose of grazoprevir/elbasvir, an oral combination pill, while they were waiting to go into the operating room for their transplant. Each recipient then continued taking a daily pill of grazoprevir/elbasvir for 12 weeks after transplantation. Three patients also took a daily dose of sofosbuvir due to the strain of hepatitis found in their donor organ.

In five of the kidney recipients, there was never any hepatitis C RNA detected in their blood. In the other patients, low levels of the virus were detected shortly after transplant but then became undetectable within days or a week. No recipients ever developed any clinical signs of chronic hepatitis C infection. In addition, the kidneys themselves functioned well. At the time of the study's publication, all patients are at least a year out from their transplant and doing well, says Desai.

"This was an overwhelmingly positive study," adds Durand.

The researchers would next like to see their results replicated in a larger, multicenter trial. They say if the success of the transplants continues, it could pave the way for other hepatitis C-positive organs, including hearts and livers, to be transplanted as well.

"We're always trying to expand what we consider acceptable for an organ donor," says Durand.

Due to the opioid epidemic and deaths from drug overdoses -- many of which occur in hepatitis C-positive individuals -- there are an increasing number of hepatitis C-positive organs available. Being able to use these organs for transplants could mean many hundreds of lives saved each year.

"These 10 kidneys we used are 10 kidneys that would not have been transplanted outside of this study," says Desai. "They would have been discarded."

Other authors of the study are Mary Grace Bowring, Diane Brown, Michael Chattergoon, Guido Massaccesi, Nichole Bair, Russell Wesson, Ashraf Reyad, Fizza Naqvi, Darin Ostrander, Jeremy Sugarman, Dorry Segev and Mark Sulkowski, all from Johns Hopkins.

Funding for the study and support for the researchers involved was provided by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

COI: Christine Durand has received research grants from Bristol Meyers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Merck Pharmaceuticals and Viiv Healthcare, and she has served as a scientific adviser for Bristol Meyers Squibb, Gilead Sciences and Merck Pharmaceuticals. Jeremy Sugarman serves on Merck KGaA's Bioethics Advisory Panel and Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, and Quintile's Ethics Advisory Panel. Mark Sulkowski served as scientific adviser for AbbVie, Gilead Sciences, Cocrystal, Janssen, Merck Pharmaceuticals and Trek and also received research grants from AbbVie, Gilead Sciences and Merck Pharmaceuticals. Niraj Desai has served as a scientific adviser for Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Norah A. Terrault, MD - Managing HBV Infection Following Liver Transplant: Expert Q&A

Jasenka Piljac ┼Żegarac, PhD
March 05, 2018

Managing HBV Infection Following Liver Transplant: Expert Q&A
In an interview with Infectious Disease Advisor, Norah A. Terrault, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the Viral Hepatitis Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), discussed the recent advances and remaining challenges in managing HBV infection in patients undergoing liver transplantation.

Infectious Disease Advisor: What is the primary indication for liver transplantation in patients with HBV infection?

Norah A. Terrault, MD, MPH: In our transplant center at UCSF, as in others throughout the United States, the majority of patients with HBV have liver cancer as the primary indication for liver transplantation.7 The other group of patients in whom we perform liver transplants are patients with acute liver failure due to hepatitis B and those with decompensated cirrhosis. For those with decompensated cirrhosis, these are frequently patients with HBV who present very late to care and who have been undiagnosed and untreated for a very long time. However, anyone who is engaged in care and having their hepatitis B appropriately managed is generally at low risk of getting decompensated cirrhosis, because current guidelines recommend that patients who have cirrhosis and HBV continue with antiviral therapy for life. Long-term suppressive antiviral therapy would be expected to prevent progression of cirrhosis and decompensated liver disease.

Continue reading.......

Of Interest
Developing a New Combination Treatment for HBV Infection
NVR3–778, a capsid assembly modulator, reduces serum levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and HBV RNA in mice with humanized livers and stable HBV infection, researchers report in the February issue of Gastroenterology. The combination of NVR3–778 and interferon prevented viral replication and HBV RNA particle production to a greater extent than either compound alone or entecavir.

Read more

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018

People on liver transplant waitlist may be no worse off if they have used marijuana

People on liver transplant waitlist may be no worse off if they have used marijuana
Last Updated: 2018-02-08
By Lorraine L. Janeczko

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Candidates on the liver transplant (LT) waitlist who have used marijuana have no worse outcomes than their counterparts on the list who have not used it, a single-center study suggests.

"Unlike illicit drug use, marijuana use was not associated with worse outcomes on the LT waitlist. . . We found a high prevalence of historical marijuana use that did not have clear adverse effects on LT waitlist outcomes," lead author Prashant Kotwani of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and colleagues write in Transplantation, online January 10.

Continue reading:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

CORRECTED-Living-donor liver transplantation has long-term advantages in children

CORRECTED-Living-donor liver transplantation has long-term advantages in children
Last Updated: 2018-02-07

(Modifies headline and first paragraph, to clarify study findings, and adds new paragraph 6.)
By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Living-donor liver transplantation has durable clinical and immunological benefits in pediatric transplant patients, according to a retrospective study.

"Our findings provide strong support for a more confident recommendation of living donor as the best option for children needing liver transplantation," said Dr. Eric M. Przybyszewski from Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City.

"Our data demonstrating that grafts from living donors have lower long-term immunologic risks compared to grafts from deceased donors provides support for this recommendation," he told Reuters Health by email.

Living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) has been used successfully for pediatric recipients for nearly 30 years, yet long-term benefits have yet to be shown.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Use of direct-acting antiviral agents in hepatitis C virus-infected liver transplant candidates

Minireviews World J Gastroenterol. Jan 21, 2018; 24(3): 315-322
Published online Jan 21, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i3.315

Use of direct-acting antiviral agents in hepatitis C virus-infected liver transplant candidates
Chiranjeevi Gadiparthi, George Cholankeril, Brandon J Perumpail, Eric R Yoo, Sanjaya K Satapathy, Satheesh Nair, Aijaz Ahmed

Published online: January 21, 2018

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Since the advent of direct acting antiviral (DAA) agents, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment has evolved at a rapid pace. In contrast to prior regimen involving ribavirin and pegylated interferon, these newer agents are highly effective, well-tolerated, have shorter course of therapy and safer essentially in all HCV patients including those with advanced liver disease and following liver transplantation. Clinicians caring for HCV-infected patients on the liver transplant (LT) waitlist are often faced with a dilemma whether to treat HCV infection before or after liver transplantation. Sustained virological response (SVR) rates following HCV treatment may improve hepatic function sufficiently enough to negate the need for LT in certain patients. On the other hand, the decrease in MELD without improvement in quality of life in certain patients may lead to delay or dropout from potentially curative LT surgery list. In this context, our review focuses on the approach to and optimal timing of DAA-based treatment of HCV infection in LT candidates in the peri-transplant period.

Core tip: Optimal timing of antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in liver transplant candidates using second generation direct-acting antivirals is debated. Available evidence lacks conviction if the viral eradication is beneficial in all HCV patients before liver transplantation. We aim to review the current literature to better delineate the appropriate timing of HCV treatment in the era of direct-acting antiviral agents.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Misperceptions' keep some from agreeing to donate organs after death

Misperceptions' keep some from agreeing to donate organs after death
Last Updated: 2018-01-22
By Carolyn Crist

(Reuters Health) - Although most Americans say they're willing to be an organ donor after they die, some people never sign up because they're unsure about what could happen to them in a medical emergency, according to a new study.

In particular, survey respondents reported concerns about receiving adequate medical care if they registered to donate organs after they died.

The medical community "(needs) to address these misperceptions," said lead study author Dr. Marty Sellers, a transplant surgeon at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in a phone interview.

In 2017, more than 10,000 deceased donors contributed to nearly 29,000 transplants in the U.S., according to the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Living donors contributed organs for an additional 6,000 transplants.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Management of chronic hepatitis B before and after liver transplantation

Review Article
Management of chronic hepatitis B before and after liver transplantation
B Wang, K Agarwal, D Joshi

Chronic hepatitis B infection is a global public health problem associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Persistent infection may evolve to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatitis B-related liver disease is a common indication for liver transplantation. Patients with advanced liver disease should be treated with antiviral therapy which may result in clinical improvement. The management of patients after liver transplant then focuses on preventing hepatitis B recurrence in the graft. With the introduction of prophylactic treatment, patient and graft survival has improved significantly. In this review, we will discuss the management of patients with hepatitis B-related cirrhosis, both compensated and decompensated. We also review the management of hepatitis B after liver transplantation

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Treatment of hepatitis C in special populations

First Online: 03 January 2018

Treatment of hepatitis C in special populations
Goki Suda, Koji Ogawa, Kenichi Morikawa, Naoya Sakamoto

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the primary causes of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In hemodialysis patients, the rate of HCV infection is high and is moreover associated with a poor prognosis. In liver transplantation patients with HCV infection, recurrent HCV infection is universal, and re-infected HCV causes rapid progression of liver fibrosis and graft loss.

Additionally, in patients with HCV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection, liver fibrosis progresses rapidly. Thus, there is an acute need for prompt treatment of HCV infection in these special populations (i.e., hemodialysis, liver transplantation, HIV co-infection). However, until recently, the standard anti-HCV treatment involved the use of interferon-based therapy.

In these special populations, interferon-based therapies could not achieve a high rate of sustained viral response and moreover were associated with a higher rate of adverse events. With the development of novel direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), the landscape of anti-HCV therapy for special populations has changed dramatically. Indeed, in special populations treated with interferon-free DAAs, the sustained viral response rate was above 90%, with a lower incidence and severity of adverse events.

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