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Hepatitis News:

March 2008


IN THE NEWS


HIV, hepatitis scare may affect 40,000 US clinic patients
“US officials Thursday said 40,000 people may have been infected with HIV and hepatitis in a major health scare after a Las Vegas clinic was found to have re-used syringes and medicine vials. Authorities in southern Nevada said they were notifying some 40,000 patients who received anesthesia injections at the clinic's endoscopy center between March 2004 and January 11, 2008 about potential exposure to hepatitis and HIV.”

Clean needle program gets thumbs-up
“LAKEPORT, CA-- A legal needle exchange program is closer to becoming a reality after the Lake County Board of Supervisors authorized such a program Tuesday. The vote was unanimous, with supervisor Anthony Farrington absent. The board adopted a resolution that authorizes a clean needle and syringe exchange program under Assembly Bill 547, signed into law Jan. 1, 2006.”

Grapefruit compound may help combat hepatitis C infection
“ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2008) - A compound that naturally occurs in grapefruit and other citrus fruits may be able to block the secretion of hepatitis C virus (HCV) from infected cells, a process required to maintain chronic infection. A team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine (MGH-CEM) report that HCV is bound to very low-density lipoprotein (vLDL, a so-called "bad" cholesterol) when it is secreted from liver cells and that the viral secretion required to pass infection to other cells may be blocked by the common flavonoid naringenin.”

More support for multi-dose syringe ban
“A multi-dose syringe ban appears to be gaining momentum in New York State. Many feel that medical malpractice involving the irresponsible use of multi-dose syringes by Dix Hills doctor Harvey Finkelstein and Manhasset obstetrician-gynecologist E. Jacob Simhaee are cause to ban the use of multi-dose vials and hope the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will take this next step. State Health Commissioner Richard Daines is part of this growing group.”

Migenix amends protocol in hepatitis C study
“Migenix will add a 600-mg celgosivir combination therapy arm to its Phase II study in treatment-naive hepatitis C patients. The 12-week, randomized, active-controlled study initially enrolled 20 patients in two treatment arms: peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin and the combination plus 400-mg celgosivir. The approved protocol amendment allows for the addition of the 600-mg arm and the flexibility to increase the number of patients in the study to a maximum of 50, Migenix said.”

Sustained response to hepatitis C treatment lowers liver complications and death in HIV/HCV coinfected people
“HIV/HCV coinfected people who achieve sustained response to hepatitis C treatment have a decreased long-term risk of liver-related complications and death, researchers reported Monday at the Fifteenth Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.”

Intercell´s therapeutic hepatitis C vaccine meets primary endpoints in Phase II
“February 6, 2008. Today, Intercell AG announced the analysis of Phase II data for its peptide-based therapeutic Hepatitis C vaccine (IC41) in an exploratory clinical study targeting treatment-naïve Hepatitis C patients. The vaccine comprises five synthetic T-cell peptides and Intercell´s first-generation poly-arginine adjuvant (IC30). It is designed to stimulate T-cell responses against viral protein structures conserved throughout the major HCV genotypes, in order to reduce viral load in the blood of chronically infected patients.”

New bid for hepatitis C vaccine
“Adelaide scientists will lead a $2 million research project to develop new vaccines to treat hepatitis C. The program hopes to identify antiviral proteins that can be used to fight the disease. With more than 170 million people around the world infected with hepatitis C, University of Adelaide virologist Michael Beard said an effective vaccine was one of the world's global health priorities.”

OctoPlus to begin Phase IIa study of hepatitis C drug Locteron in US
“AMSTERDAM - Octoplus said it is to begin Phase IIa studies of its Locteron drug, used to treat chronic hepatitis C, in the US. The Dutch biotech company said the study will expand on the 'favorable results' of its recently completed Phase IIa study in Europe. The study will evaluate up to 56 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and look at safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and viral kinetics issues, the company said.”

Schering-Plough, OraSure Tech collaborate on oral hepatitis C test outside U.S.
“Schering-Plough Corp. and OraSure Technologies Inc. Monday agreed to collaborate on the development and promotion of an oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) test outside the U.S. The test will use OraSure's OraQuick technology platform. Under the agreement Schering-Plough will reimburse OraSure for certain development costs and will provide payments to OraSure based on the achievement of certain regulatory and commercial milestones in international markets. Schering-Plough will provide promotional support while OraSure will make all sales and retain the rights to market and sell the test in all markets throughout the world.”

SciClone says hepatitis C drug trial's interim data promising
“SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sigma-Tau said interim data from a late-stage trial of hepatitis C drug candidate, Zadaxin, was promising, with 171 out of 553 total patients responding to treatment at the end of 48 weeks of therapy. Full data from the trial will be available in the third quarter of 2008, the companies said in a joint statement.”

Presidio Pharmaceuticals and Numerate announce research collaboration to identify improved hepatitis C therapeutics
“Presidio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel, small molecule compounds for the treatment of HIV-1 and HCV, and Numerate, Inc., a biotechnology company with a proprietary drug engineering platform, announced today that they have entered into a research collaboration to discover and develop novel small molecule inhibitors of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Terms of the collaboration and the specific HCV target were not disclosed.”

Husband blast on Anita's bug
[United Kingdom] “Dame Anita Roddick's widower has marked the anniversary of her bombshell announcement that she had hepatitis C - by slamming government inaction over the killer virus. Gordon, 65, said: "Letting people die because you can't be bothered to put proper services in place is totally unacceptable." It is thought 500,000 Brits carry hepatitis C but don't realise. And the longer it goes undetected, the greater the risk of fatal liver damage or cancer.”

1,000 people living with killer disease
[United Kingdom] “MORE than 1,000 people could be living with a killer disease in Bolton but have no idea they are ill, according to experts. Leading gastroenterologist at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Dr George Lipscombe, spoke out during an exhibition being held at Victoria Square in Bolton town centre today to raise awareness of hepatitis C.”

Amarillo Bioscience partner, CytoPharm, to conduct 144 patient phase 2 hepatitis C trial in Taiwan
“Amarillo Biosciences, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed the Investigational New Drug (IND) application submitted by the company to test its low dose oral interferon in a Phase 2 hepatitis C clinical trial to go into effect. Accordingly, CytoPharm Inc., the company's partner in Taiwan, will fund and conduct a clinical trial of 144 chronic hepatitis C patients in Taiwan. The patients will receive one of two different dosages of oral human interferon alpha or placebo.”

Travel risk of hepatitis ignored
[United Kingdom] “British overseas travelers should take care when travelling to South Asian countries to protect themselves from infectious diseases, a UK charity warns. A team of senior doctors state there is a growing problem with widespread ignorance among overseas travelers of the need to take health and safety precautions.”

Lack of inmate treatment costs state $8M in lawsuit; four prisoners each receive $2M
“MATTOON, IL - A federal jury in Urbana this week awarded $8 million to four state prisoners who claimed they were not treated for hepatitis C under Department of Corrections policies, a Mattoon attorney said Thursday. H. Kent Heller of Mattoon said he filed the case on behalf of Coles County resident Ed Roe and three other inmates housed at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln in 2005 after confirming state policy prevented treatment of the disease for prisoners with less than 18 months remaining on their sentences. Treatment for hepatitis C can extend several months or two years.”

Old, dirty jail razors raise fears of hep C; used blades erroneously given back to inmates to shave with
[Canada] “An estimated 36 inmates used dirty razors that were mistakenly distributed at a provincial jail late last year. Now, they're receiving vaccinations [for hepatitis B] after being tested last month for various strains of hepatitis. "Right now, we've been given a nine-month sentence to see if we've been given a life sentence," said one inmate, who asked not to be identified.”


CLINICAL TRIALS, COHORT STUDIES, PILOT STUDIES


Inferior response of Asian vs. non-Asian hepatitis C genotype 3 infection to combination antiviral therapy. Freshwater DA, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 Feb;15(2):115-9.

Novel controlled-release lemna-derived IFN-alpha2b (Locteron): Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and tolerability in a phase I clinical trial. De Leede LG, et al. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2008 Feb;28(2):113-22.

Eicosapentaenoic acid could permit maintenance of the original ribavirin dose in chronic hepatitis C virus patients during the first 12 weeks of combination therapy with pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin. A prospective randomized controlled trial. Takaki S, et al. Intervirology. 2007;50(6):439-46. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Association between the treatment length and cumulative dose of pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin and their effectiveness as a combination treatment for Japanese chronic hepatitis C patients: Project of the Kyushu University Liver Disease Study Group. Furusyo N, et al. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb 1 [Epub ahead of print]

Blunted cytopenias and weight loss: new correlates of virologic null response to re-treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Lindsay KL, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb;6(2):234-41.

The spectrum of hepatic functional impairment in compensated chronic hepatitis C: results from the HALT-C trial. Everson GT, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Feb 7 [Epub ahead of print]

Psychiatric symptoms during interferon treatment for hepatitis C: experiences from a tertiary care hepatology center. Evon DM, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Feb 7 [Epub ahead of print]

The course of hepatitis C viraemia in transfusion recipients prior to availability of antiviral therapy. Mosley JW, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 Feb;15(2):120-8.

Hepatic steatosis in chronic hepatitis C: baseline host and viral characteristics and influence on response to therapy with peginterferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin. Reddy KR, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 Feb;15(2):129-36.

Clinical and laboratory characteristics of acute hepatitis C in patients with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis. Lemos LB, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb;42(2):208-11.

Hepatitis C virus infection and interferon therapy in patients with Down syndrome. Miyoshi Y, et al. Pediatr Int. 2008 Feb;50(1):7-11.

Relapse of hepatitis C virus-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia vasculitis in patients with sustained viral response. Landau DA, et al. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Feb;58(2):604-11.

Prospective study of liver transplant recipients with HCV infection: evidence for a causal relationship between HCV and insulin resistance. Delgado-Borrego A, et al. Liver Transpl. 2008 Feb;14(2):193-201.

Hepatitis C virus and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in British Columbia, Canada. Spinelli JJ, et al. Int J Cancer. 2008 Feb 1;122(3):630-3.


BASIC AND APPLIED SCIENCE, PRE-CLINICAL STUDIES


Liver eosinophilic infiltrate is a significant finding in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Tarantino G, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 Feb 5 [Epub ahead of print]

Peripheral blood serum markers for apoptosis and liver fibrosis: Are they trustworthy indicators of liver realness? Torre F, et al. Dig Liver Dis. 2008 Feb 20 [Epub ahead of print]

IFN-alpha-induced motor slowing is associated with increased depression and fatigue in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Majer M, et al. Brain Behav Immun. 2008 Feb 5 [Epub ahead of print]

Changes in the Th1/Th2 ratio during a 24-week course of an interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin combination therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis C. Fujimoto T, et al. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb 1 [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatitis C virus receptor expression in normal and diseased liver tissue. Reynolds GM, et al. Hepatology. 2008 Feb;47(2):418-27.

Cytokine mRNA expression in hepatitis C virus infection: TH1 predominance in patients with chronic hepatitis C and TH1-TH2 cytokine profile in subjects with self-limited disease. Gigi E, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 Feb;15(2):145-54.

Influence of quasispecies on virological responses and disease severity in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Kumar D, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb 7;14(5):701-8.

Neuroactive steroids and fatigue severity in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and hepatitis C. Ahboucha S, et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2008 Feb 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Possible molecular mechanism of the relationship between NS5B polymorphisms and early clearance of hepatitis C virus during interferon plus ribavirin treatment. Nakamura M, et al. J Med Virol. 2008 Apr;80(4):632-9.

Diversity of hepatitis C virus genotype 1b in Buenos Aires, Argentina: description of a new cluster associated with response to treatment. Di Lello F, et al. J Med Virol. 2008 Apr;80(4):619-27.

Molecular and bioinformatic evidence of hepatitis C virus evolution in brain. Fishman SL, et al. J Infect Dis. 2008 Feb 15;197(4):597-607.

Endogenous interferon-alpha level is increased in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive pregnant women. Paternoster DM, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb;42(2):204-7.


HIV/HCV COINFECTION


Regional adipose tissue and elevations in serum aminotransferases in HIV-infected individuals. Tien PC, et al. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Feb 14 [Epub ahead of print]

Survival and recurrence of hepatitis C after liver transplantation in patients coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus. Duclos-Vallée JC, et al. Hepatology. 2008 Feb;47(2):407-17.

Factors associated with hepatitis C viremia in a large cohort of HIV-infected and -uninfected women. Operskalski EA, et al. J Clin Virol. 2008 Feb 1 [Epub ahead of print]

Risk of hepatitis-related mortality increased among hepatitis C virus/HIV-coinfected drug users compared with drug users infected only with hepatitis C virus: a 20-year prospective study. Smit C, et al. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Feb 1;47(2):221-5.


COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE THERAPY


Herbal product use by persons enrolled in the hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) Trial. Seeff LB, et al. Hepatology. 2008 Feb;47(2):605-12.

Modulating the immune response by oral zinc supplementation: a single approach for multiple diseases. Overbeck S, Rink L, Haase H. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2008 Jan-Feb;56(1):15-30. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


MISCELLANEOUS WORKS


Clinical evaluation of the COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS TaqMan for HCV RNA quantitation in comparison with the branched-DNA assay. Pittaluga F, et al. J Med Virol. 2008 Feb;80(2):254-60.

Correlation of FIBROSpect II with histologic and morphometric evaluation of liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C. Patel K, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb;6(2):242-7. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

High diagnostic accuracy of antigen microarray for sensitive detection of hepatitis C virus infection. Kwon JA, et al. Clin Chem. 2008 Feb;54(2):424-8.

Sensitivity of a rapid immuno-chromatographic test for Hepatitis C antibodies detection. Desbois D, et al. J Clin Virol. 2008 Feb;41(2):129-33.

Nosocomial hepatitis C in a thoracic surgery unit; retrospective findings generating a prospective study. Cardell K, et al. J Hosp Infect. 2008 Feb 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Can We Predict the Degree of Fibrosis in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients Using Routine Blood Tests in Our Daily Practice?Cheung RC, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb 15 [Epub ahead of print]

How Physicians Describe Outcomes to HCV Therapy: Prevalence and Meaning of "Cure" During Provider-Patient In-office Discussions of HCV. Hamilton HE, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Health-related quality of life in children with hepatitis C acquired in the first year of life. Nydegger A, et al. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb;23(2):226-30.

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Hepatitis C is the most common, chronic blood-borne
viral infection in the U.S.