Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program Newsletter

December 2005


in the news


Hepatitis C Patients Taxing Medical System 
The use of health-care resources by hepatitis C patients in the United States has been increasing by 25 percent to 30 percent a year, says a Duke University study in the December issue of Hepatology.

French Researchers Say HIV Infection Significantly Modifies the Natural History of HCV Infection


“Recent research suggests that up to 30% of HIV positive individuals are coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).”


MedMira granted European patent for hepatitis C diagnostic system

“Medical diagnostic test maker MedMira Inc. said Tuesday it has been granted a patent for a key component of its rapid hepatitis C test as it plans to launch the product and a combination rapid test for the disease and HIV.”

Liver Cancer, Hepatitis C Connection Gets Clearer

“Scientists have long noted a link between chronic hepatitis C infection and an increased risk for liver cancer, and a new study may help explain why.”


Dr. Jack Kevorkian Losing Fight With Hepatitis C


“Attorney Mayer Morganroth said today that his client, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, telephoned him a short time ago with more bad news. Morganroth said Dr. Kevorkian told him that prison doctors informed Kevorkian that his liver enzymes are now triple of what is normal.”  

New Insights Into Protein Synthesis And Hepatitis C Infections


Scientists have uncovered key new information towards understanding the crucial first step in protein synthesis, the process by which the genetic code, harbored within DNA and copied into RNA, is translated into the production of proteins.”


Vertex Pharma launches midstage trial for hep C


Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has launched a midstage human clinical trial for VX-950, its drug to treat hepatitis C.”


North Carolina Hepatitis C/HIV Program Works to Meet Future Community Needs


“An innovative, three-year project to address Hepatitis C and HIV in the Durham, N.C. area has established groundbreaking programs that help people at risk, says Beth Stringfield, director of the Piedmont HIV Health Care Consortium.”


Non-invasive markers of liver damage effective in HIV / hepatitis C co-infected patients


“Markers of liver damage due to hepatitis C infection that can be measured from blood samples are as effective in patients with and without HIV, according to the results of a study presented in the 15th December edition of The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.”


Hepatitis C Is An Increasing Burden, Finds Report


“Chronic hepatitis C infection has led to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer, in 4,500 people living in England and Wales, according to figures published yesterday.”


SciClone Reports Results From First ZADAXIN Phase 3 Hepatitis C Trial


“SciClone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced top-line results from the first of its two phase 3 clinical trials using ZADAXIN® (thymalfasin) in combination with pegylated interferon alpha to treat patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who have failed previous interferon-based therapy.”


ViRexx to Present Hepatitis C Vaccine Data at HepDART 2005


“ViRexx Medical Corp. a company focused on immunotherapy treatments for certain cancers, chronic hepatitis B & C and embolotherapy treatments for tumors, announced that an abstract relating to pre-clinical data from a hepatitis C Chimigen(TM) vaccine candidate will be presented at the HepDART 2005: Frontiers in Drug Development for Viral Hepatitis in Hawaii.”


Sirna Therapeutics Selects Development Candidate for Its Hepatitis C Antiviral Program


“Sirna Therapeutics, Inc., a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that it has selected Sirna-AV34, a systemically delivered, chemically modified short interfering RNA (siRNA) compound, as its candidate for advancement to human clinical testing against Hepatitis C virus.”


Valopicitabine Showing Continued Good Results in Hepatitis C: Presented at HEP DART


“The novel prodrug valopicitabine (NM283) continues to show promise in the treatment of hepatitis C in patients who have been refractory to standard HCV therapy, according to partial 24-week results from an ongoing phase 2b trial.”


Mother-to-Child Hepatitis C Transmission Twice As Likely Among Infant Girls As Boys, Study Says


“Pregnant women living with hepatitis C are about twice as likely to transmit the virus to an infant girl as they are to a boy, according to a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Reuters Health reports.”


Schering-Plough Announces PEG-INTRON(R) and REBETOL(R) Approved in Japan for Expanded Use in Treating Chronic Hepatitis C

“Schering-Plough Corporation today announced that Schering-Plough K.K., the company's country operations in Japan, has received marketing approval for a new, additional indication for PEG-INTRON(R) (peginterferon alfa-2b) Powder for Injection in combination with REBETOL(R) (ribavirin) Capsules – the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in adult patients other than those with genotype 1 virus and high viral load.”


Saliva-based hepatitis C test developed http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=4&item=News&itemid=2560&language=1

“Israeli scientists have developed a saliva-based test to detect the hepatitis C virus, and say it could be appropriate for mass screening programmes in developing countries.”


Medivir: Candidate Drug Designated within the Tibotec Collaboration

“Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) collaboration with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Ltd has recently designated a Candidate Drug (CD). The aim of the research collaboration is to identify and develop orally active inhibitors of the HCV protease NS3/4A.”


Vertex hepatitis C drug will get fast track review


“Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. said on Thursday that U.S. regulators will review its experimental hepatitis C drug on an accelerated basis.”


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.”


Clinical Trials, Cohort Studies, and Pilot Studies

Similar compliance and effect of treatment in chronic hepatitis C resulting from intravenous drug use in comparison with other infection causes. Robaeys G, et al. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Feb;18(2):159-166.



Sustained virological response rate to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C in African Americans: results in treatment-naive patients in a university liver clinic. Srivastava S, Bertagnolli M, Lewis JH. J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 Dec;97(12):1703-7.



Pretreatment prediction of interferon-alfa efficacy in chronic hepatitis C patients.
Hayashida K, et al, Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Dec;3(12):1253-9..

Spontaneous elimination of hepatitis C virus RNA in individuals with persistent infection in a hyperendemic area of Japan . Uto H, et al.  Hepatol Res. 2005 Dec 14; [Epub ahead of print]

Timing of interferon therapy and sources of infection in patients with acute hepatitis C.
Ogata K, et al. Hepatol Res. 2005 Dec 13; [Epub ahead of print]

Risk factors for perinatal transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the natural history of HCV infection acquired in infancy.  Mast EE, et al.  J Infect Dis. 2005 Dec 1;192(11):1880-9. Epub 2005 Oct 28.


Adiponectin and its receptors in patients with chronic hepatitis C.  Jonsson JR, et al. J Hepatol. 2005 Dec;43(6):929-36. Epub 2005 Jul 1.
Th1 response during ribavirin and interferon-alpha combination therapy in chronic hepatitis C.  Kobayashi K., et al. Hepatol Res. 2005 Dec 22; [Epub ahead of print].

Efficacy of Interferon-alpha in the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C in Dialysis Patients: Two Therapeutic Protocols Compared.  Grgurevic I, et al.  Nephron Clin Pract. 2005 Dec 21;103(1):c8-c11 [Epub ahead of print].

Kinetics of hepatitis C virus RNA load during pegylated interferon alpha-2a and ribavirin treatment in naive genotype 1 patients.  Ouzan D, et al. Comp Hepatol. 2005 Dec 21;4(1):9 [Epub ahead of print]

Basic and Applied Science, Pre-Clinical Studies


Enhanced sensitivity of human hepatoma cells to 5-fluorouracil by small interfering RNA targeting Bcl-2.  Kanda T, et al. DNA Cell Biol. 2005 Dec;24(12):805-9.

Activation of V[gamma]9V[delta]2 T cells by non-peptidic antigens induces the inhibition of subgenomic HCV replication.  Agrati C, et al, Int Immunol. 2006 Jan;18(1):11-8. Epub 2005 Dec 16.

Chronic liver injury in rats and humans upregulates the novel enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme 2.  Paizis G, et al. Gut. 2005 Dec;54(12):1790-6. Epub 2005 Sep 15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16166274&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_DocSum

Partial reconstitution of hepatitis C virus RNA polymerization by heterologous expression of NS5B polymerase and template RNA in bacterial cell.  Lee S, Virus Res. 2005 Dec;114(1-2):158-63. Epub 2005 Aug 11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16099067&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_DocSum
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein enhances the immunogenicity of a co-delivered DNA vaccine encoding HCV structural antigens in mice.  Alvarez-Lajonchere L, et al. Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 2005 Dec 20; [Epub ahead of print].


HIV/HCV Coinfection

Immunologic Response to Antiretroviral Therapy in Hepatitis C Virus-Coinfected Adults in a Population-Based HIV/AIDS Treatment Program.  Braitstein P, et al. J Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 15;193(2):259-68. Epub 2005 Dec 7.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16362890&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_DocSum

Detection of HCV-RNA in Saliva of HIV-HCV Coinfected Patients.  Eirea M, et al. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2005 Dec;21(12):1011-4.

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.


Hepatitis C-associated autoimmunity in patients coinfected with HIV. Woitas RP, et al. Liver Int. 2005 Dec;25(6):1114-21.

Do type and duration of antiretroviral therapy attenuate liver fibrosis in HIV-hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients?  Verma S, Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 15;42(2):262-70. Epub 2005 Dec 2.



Complementary and Alternative Therapies


Oxidative stress and hepatitis C viral infection. Koike K, Miyoshi H. Hepatol Res. 2005 Dec 16; [Epub ahead of print]



Advancing patient care through innovative practice: the Clinical Partners Program.
Mehta BH, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2005 Dec 1;62(23):2501-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16303906&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_docsum




Behavior modification following a diagnosis of hepatitis C infection. Lindsey N, Reif JS, Bachand A, Seys SA. Am J Health Behav. 2005 Nov-Dec;29(6):512-9.



Advances in digital quantification technique enhance discrimination between mild and advanced liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C. Lazzarini AL, Levine RA, Ploutz-Snyder RJ, Sanderson SO. Liver Int. 2005 Dec;25(6):1142-9.



Prevalence of viral markers among first-time Arab blood donors in Kuwait.  Ameen R, et al. Transfusion. 2005 Dec;45(12):1973-80.


A general method for nested RT-PCR amplification and sequencing the complete HCV genotype 1 open reading frame.  Yao E, Tavis JE, Virahep-C Study Group T. Virol J. 2005 Dec 1;2(1):88 [Epub ahead of print]

Approach of primary care physicians to hepatitis C: an educational survey from a Southern Italian area.  Cozzolongo R, et al.  J Infect. 2005 Dec;51(5):396-400. Epub 2005 Jan 21.

Changes in risk behavior and dynamics of hepatitis C virus infections among young drug users in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  van de Laar TJ, et al. J Med Virol. 2005 Dec;77(4):509-18.
Prevalence and correlates of hepatitis C infection among users of North America's first medically supervised safer injection facility.  Wood E, et al.  Public Health. 2005 Dec;119(12):1111-5. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

What do patients consider when making decisions about treatment for hepatitis C? Fraenkel L, et al. Am J Med. 2005 Dec;118(12):1387-91.
Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Management: 2000-2005 Update (January).  Hughes CA, Shafran SD. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Dec 20; [Epub ahead of print]