New Drug Combo Shows Promise for Hepatitis C in the Lab
March 25, 2011
At a recent conference of hepatology researchers, St. Louis University's Dr. Bruce R. Bacon reported results from the "HCV Respond-2" study, on which he was principal investigator. Bacon and other experts are hopeful that boceprevir, the drug trialed in the project, can boost the cure rate for hepatitis C virus by half or more.
Boceprevir's maker, Merck & Co., awarded a grant to St. Louis University to test it in preparation for submitting it for Food and Drug Administration approval, which could come this summer. In the study, more than 400 HCV patients not cured by standard therapy (peginterferon and ribavirin) received either standard therapy and a placebo or standard therapy and boceprevir. The new combination cured about half the hard-to-cure cases, effectively boosting the cure rate to about 75 percent.
The effect of this could be huge, Bacon said. While about 700,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with HCV, an estimated 3.2 million people are chronically infected. And, he added, more new drugs under study are aimed at increasing the cure rate to 80 percent or 90 percent.
One participant in the study was Buddy Foster of Springfield, Ill., who had failed on standard HCV therapy and been put on a waiting list for a liver transplant. "I was in the study for 36 weeks, and they told me I was finished," Foster said. "I hadn't shown any of the virus since 20 weeks."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
03.17.2011; Harry Jackson Jr.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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