Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program Newsletter

November  2005



in the news


Valeant Pharmaceuticals Agrees to Acquire Rights to Hep-C Drug Infergen® from InterMune


“Valeant Pharmaceuticals International today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the United States and Canadian rights to the hepatitis C drug Infergen® (interferon alfacon-1) from InterMune, Inc.”


Firefighters Volunteer for Hepatitis C Testing


"By the nature of their job, they are at risk," said Katherine Auble, executive director of the American Liver Foundation, who is in Shreveport administering the test.”

Patients with Hepatitis C Using More Healthcare Resources

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-11/jws-pwh112905.phpAging patient population burdens healthcare system

“Chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects about 3 million people in the United States. Many patients contracted the disease in the 1970s before testing and safe needle-sharing practices were widespread. As this population ages, experts have predicted an increasing impact on the healthcare system.”


Hepatitis C Leadership Summit Engages HCV Stakeholders to Elevate the Response to the HCV Epidemic; New Opportunities for Action With Currently-Available Resources


“An estimated 4 million Americans have been infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Because no significant new federal resources to fight the HCV epidemic are planned for the near future, improving on the current response requires creative and coordinated leveraging of available assets.”


Treatment of Genotype 1 Chronic Hepatitis C: Increased Sustained Virological Response with High-dose RBV and Epoetin


Anemia is the most important side effect of ribavirin (RBV), leading often to dose reductions and premature treatment discontinuations.”


Efficacy of Daily Consensus Interferon (Infergen) and Ribavirin Compared to PEG-Interferon Alfa-2b (PegIntron) and Ribavirin in Nonresponders with Chronic Hepatitis C


“Consensus interferon/CIFN (Infergen) is a synthetic interferon that demonstrates enhanced potency in laboratory studies compared to conventional interferon alfa.” 


Consensus Interferon (Infergen) and Ribavirin in Nonresponders to Prior Therapy with Either Standard Interferon Alfa and Ribavirin or Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin


“Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatment options for individuals who fail to achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) to the standard of care—peginterferon plus ribavirin combination therapy. In the present review, investigators at 3 midwestern medical centers describe their experience using consensus interferon (CIFN) (Infergen) [aka interferon alfacon-1] plus ribavirin (RBV) in nonresponders (NR) to peginterferon + ribavirin.”


Sustained Virologic Response Rates from a Randomized Trial of HCV Genotype-1 Subjects Treated with Either Consensus IFN and Ribavirin or Pegylated Interferon alfa-2b and Ribavirin


“It is well known that greater than 50% of HCV genotype 1 individuals treated with the standard of care, peginterferon alfa plus ribavirin, fail to achieve a sustained virological response (SVR). Results of a few studies suggest that consensus interferon (CIFN) (Infergen) in combination with ribavirin (RBV) may be particularly active against HCV genotype 1 and therefore might improve SVR rates in this patient population.”


Hepatitis C: The Uncounted Disease


“Hepatitis C is the most common blood borne infection in the United States. And it's the leading cause of liver transplants. About three million people are walking around with the virus and according to the Centers for Disease Control, most of them are completely unaware that they are infected.”


ViroPharma Announces That Treatment With HCV-796 Reduces Hepatitis C Virus Levels


“ViroPharma Incorporated  today announced preliminary results from a Phase 1b proof of concept study with HCV-796, an orally dosed hepatitis C (HCV) viral polymerase inhibitor with the potential to interfere with the replication of hepatitis C virus, that is being co-developed with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth.”


Hepatitis C Often Untreated and Outcomes Lag behind Trials in Clinical Practice

When patients with hepatitis C go on antiviral therapy, the likelihood of a response may be half of that seen in clinical trials, according to investigators who presented their findings here at the 70th annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG).”


Relatives of Hepatitis C Victims Who Died after Receiving Blood Transfusions have Launched a Legal Action to Seek a Public Inquiry into the Deaths. [UK]

Lawyers acting for the three people yesterday urged a judge to take the unusual step in Scots law of making protective costs orders in the cases - to limit their liability in the event of failure - to let their fight for justice go on.”


Los Angeles Summit Focuses on Fighting Hepatitis C

“Health officials gathered in Los Angeles recently to discuss the region’s successes—and failures—in fighting the spread of hepatitis C, California’s KPCC News radio reports.”

Woman Sues Board of Education Over Hepatitis C Infection


“After getting infected with Hepatitis C, a paraprofessional from the city’s public school system is suing the Board of Education for failing to provide her with adequate education about and protection from the disease.”


Largest Hepatitis C Trial in U.S. Patients Shows Weight-Based REBETOL in Combination With PEG-INTRON Increases Sustained Response, Lowers Relapse - Final Results of Community-Based WIN-R Study Also Demonstrate Efficacy of Shorter, More Tolerable 24-Week Regimen in Patients With Genotype 2 or 3 Virus


“Final results of the WIN-R trial,(1) the largest hepatitis C study conducted in U.S. patients, showed that weight-based REBETOL® (ribavirin, USP) in combination therapy with PEG-INTRON® (peginterferon alfa-2b) achieved significantly higher rates of sustained virologic response (SVR)(2) and lower rates of relapse compared to the combination therapy using a flat dose of ribavirin.”


Clinical Trials, Cohort Studies, and Pilot Studies


Non-response to antiviral therapy is associated with obesity and increased hepatic expression of SOCS-3 in patients with chronic hepatitis C, viral genotype 1.  Walsh MJ, et al. Gut. 2005 Nov 18; [Epub ahead of print]
Prospective study on early virologic response to treatment with interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1b. Nagaki M, et al. Hepatol Res. 2005 Nov 16; [Epub ahead of print]

Digestive endoscopy and HCV transmission.  Bronowicki JP. J Hepatol. 2005 Nov 15; [Epub ahead of print]
Efficacy of 24 weeks treatment with peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C infected with genotype 1 and low pretreatment viremia. Zeuzem S, et al. J Hepatol. 2005 Nov 7; [Epub ahead of print]

Clearance of HCV RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cell as a predictor of response to antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C.  Xu DZ, Xie Y, Li ZQ. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2005 Nov;4(4):550-3.


A randomized trial of pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin in the retreatment of chronic hepatitis C.  Jacobson IM, et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Nov;100(11):2453-62.

Frequency of hepatitis C in pregnancy and pregnancy outcome.  Jaffery T, Tariq N, Ayub R, Yawar AJ Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2005 Nov;15(11):716-9.

Response of hepatitis C genotype-4 naive patients to 24 weeks of Peg-interferon-alpha2b/ribavirin or induction-dose interferon-alpha2b/ribavirin/amantadine: a non-randomized controlled study.  El-Zayadi AR, et al.  Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Nov;100(11):2447-52.

Influence of alcohol on the progression of hepatitis C virus infection: a meta-analysis. Hutchinson SJ, Bird SM, Goldberg DJClin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Nov;3(11):1150-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16271348&query_hl=5

Hepatic steatosis in chronic hepatitis C: impact on response to anti-viral treatment with peg-interferon and ribavirin.   Guidi M, Muratori P, et al.  Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Nov 15;22(10):943-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16268968&query_hl=5

The Effect of Ribavirin on Bone Density in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Treated with Interferon-Ribavirin Therapy. Urganci N, et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Nov;41(5):650-652.

Psychological implications of hepatitis C virus diagnosis.  Gill ML, Atiq M, Sattar S, Khokhar NJ Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Nov;20(11):1741-4.
Safe use of pegylated interferon/ribavirin in hepatitis C virus cirrhotic patients with hypersplenism after partial splenic embolization.
A long-term follow-up and management study of hepatocellular carcinoma patients surviving for 10 years or longer after curative hepatectomy.  Shimada K, Sano T, Sakamoto Y, Kosuge T. Cancer. 2005 Nov 1;104(9):1939-47. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16177997&query_hl=6

Depression and anxiety in patients with hepatitis C: prevalence, detection rates and risk factors.
Golden J, O'dwyer AM, Conroy RMGen Hosp Psychiatry. 2005 Nov-Dec;27(6):431-8.

Basic and Applied Science, Pre-Clinical Studies

Relationship between early HCV kinetics and T-cell reactivity in chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 during peginterferon and ribavirin therapy.

Hepatitis C virus-NS3P in relation to p53, p21,mdm2, p21-ras and c-erbB2 in hepatocarcinogenesis.

The apolipoprotein [epsilon] 3 allele is associated with persistent hepatitis C virus infection.
Price DA, et al.  Gut. 2005 Nov 18; [Epub ahead of print] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16299033&query_hl=5

The modeled structure of the RNA dependent RNA polymerase of GBV-C Virus suggests a role for motif E in Flaviviridae RNA polymerases. Ferron F, BMC Bioinformatics. 2005 Oct 14;6(1):255 [Epub ahead of print]



Morphine Withdrawal Enhances Hepatitis C Virus Replicon Expression.  Wang CQ, et al.  Am J Pathol. 2005 Nov;167(5):1333-1340.



Protection against Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection after Rechallenge with Homologous, but Not Heterologous, Genotypes in a Chimpanzee Model.  Prince AM, Brotman B, et al. J Infect Dis. 2005 Nov 15;192(10):1701-9. Epub 2005 Oct 6.. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16235167&query_hl=6

HIV/HCV Coinfection

Increased Hepatocyte Fas Expression and Apoptosis in HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection.

Presence of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA in the Genital Tracts of HCV/HIV-1-Coinfected Women.  Nowicki MJ, J Infect Dis. 2005 Nov 1;192(9):1557-65. Epub 2005 Sep 29.
Hepatitis C virus in the semen of men coinfected with HIV-1: prevalence and origin.
Briat A, Dulioust E, et al.  AIDS. 2005 Nov 4;19(16):1827-35.

Validation of a simple model for predicting liver fibrosis in HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients.  Al-Mohri H, Cooper C, Murphy T, Klein MBHIV Med. 2005 Nov;6(6):375-8

Serological markers of autoimmunity in patients infected with hepatitis C virus: impact of HIV co-infection.  Adeyemi OM, et al.  HIV Med. 2005 Nov;6(6):371-4.
Histological Findings and Clinical Characteristics Associated with Hepatic Steatosis in Patients Coinfected with HIV and Hepatitis C Virus.  Marks KM, et al. J Infect Dis. 2005 Dec 1;192(11):1943-9. Epub 2005 Nov 2.
Differences in HCV-specific T cell responses between chronic HCV infection and HIV/HCV co-infection.  Dutoit V, et al.  Eur J Immunol. 2005 Nov 22; [Epub ahead of print]

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Silymarin treatment of viral hepatitis: a systematic review. Mayer KE, Myers RP, Lee SSJ Viral Hepat. 2005 Nov;12(6):559-67.


Infection of tupaia hepatocytes with hepatitis C virus in vitro.  [Article in Chinese]
Zhao XP, Zhonghua Gan Zang Bing Za Zhi. 2005 Nov 20;13(11):805-807. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16313720&query_hl=5
The prevalence of HCV antibody in South Australian prisoners.  Miller ER, Bi P, Ryan P. J Infect. 2005 Nov 25; [Epub ahead of print]
Pathways of care and resource utilization in a national cohort of patients with transfusion-acquired hepatitis C.  Brant L et al. , J Viral Hepat. 2005 Nov;12(6):618-26.