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Hepatitis News:

January 2008


Valeant sells hepatitis C drug
“Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Thursday that it will sell Infergen, a hepatitis C drug, to Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals LLC for $91.3 million. The Aliso Viejo drug maker will get $70.8 million in cash and up to $20.5 million in two payments during the next 18 months. In November Valeant said it planned on selling Infergen, which accounted for $8.6 million in sales and costs of about $18.6 million in the quarter. Selling Infergen to Cranberry Township, Pa.-based Three Rivers "is an important step forward" in simplifying Valeant's operations, Chief Executive Timothy Tyson said in a release.”

Province reinstituted controversial free crack pipe distribution program
“Access to free, clean crack pipes in Ottawa will continue next year despite the city's opposition to the controversial program. Jack McCarthy, director of the Somerset West Community Health Centre, said the news was confirmed Friday by a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesman. "We have not officially heard in writing, but the minister is committed to funding this program," Mr. McCarthy said, adding he is pleased with the news.”

Romark raises $18 million
“Romark Laboratories LC received $18 million in institutional financing with the D.E. Shaw Group. The funding will enable Romark to advance development of its lead compound, nitazoxanide, for the treatment of hepatitis C, and advance its next-generation thiazolide drug candidates for the treatment of hepatitis B and C and other viral diseases, according to a release. Romark is currently conducting a U.S. Phase 2 trial of nitazoxanide in hepatitis C patients who have failed standard treatments, and expects to begin a U.S. Phase 2 trial in treatment naive patients in the first quarter of 2008.”

GlobeImmune begins trial with hepatitis C candidate
“GlobeImmune has started a Phase II trial to evaluate GI-5005 Tarmogen for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. The drug is being evaluated as a potential therapy in combination with the standard of care, pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. The randomized, open-label, multi-arm, multicenter trial is evaluating GI-5005 in combination with full duration standard of care versus standard of care alone in patients who are either treatment-naive or unresponsive to previous therapy. This study will enroll 120 patients in the U.S., India and Europe, GlobeImmune said.”

Health campaign leads to greater testing for hepatitis C
“"More people are being tested for hepatitis C leading to more cases being diagnosed, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The HPA credited the rise in testing to the NHS campaign, FaCe It, which was launched in December 2004. It targeted both medical professionals and the public in support the government's hepatitis C action plan for England. But despite the campaign, the HPA still expects the number of people with hepatitis C-related end stage liver disease to increase to 2,670 by 2015.”

Guam doc urges physicians to test middle-aged patients for hepatitis C
“A doctor based in Guam urged his fellow physicians and other medical personnel to encourage their patients aged 40 to 45 to test for hepatitis C, especially if their patients have a history of drug use when they were younger.
Dr. Nathaniel Berg said hepatitis C is a big problem on Guam given the history of extensive heroin use among residents back in the 1970s and the 1980s. During those years, Berg noted that many Guam residents were hooked on heroin and addicts used to share needles, a practice that guaranteed the transmission of hepatitis C to unsuspecting users.
The doctor also tackled the need to reject suggestions to isolate those infected with hepatitis C or other diseases like HIV/AIDS from the rest of the community.”

Medivir and Tibotec collaborate for hepatitis C treatment
“Medivir has reported that it is collaborating with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals to develop HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. The drug candidate, TMC435350, recently advanced into Phase II of the clinical trial program. The first Phase IIa study was initiated in Europe by Tibotec Pharmaceuticals at the end of November.”

Novelos concludes hepatitis C safety trial
“Novelos Therapeutics has concluded the initial US-based double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase Ib trial evaluating Nov-205 as monotherapy in chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 patients who previously failed treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Based on favorable safety data in this 14-dose trial with 18 subjects (12 treated with Nov-205 and six with placebo), Novelos plans to initiate a longer proof-of-concept trial in hepatitis C non-responders in the second half of 2008.”

Surge in hepatitis C diagnoses reported [England]
“The number of new cases of hepatitis C in England jumped 10% in 2006, new figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) reveal. In 2006 8,346 of the viral infection were diagnosed, up from 7,580 cases in 2005. But public health experts say that the increase is down to much better awareness of the disease rather than a surge in new infections. The death of Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, who openly talked about her hepatitis C infection and a Department of Health campaign to boost uptake of testing for the virus helped to raise its profile.”

7.5m hepatitis C patients in country
“There are 7.5 million patients of hepatitis C in Pakistan and the number is still on the rise, said consultant herpetologist at Holy Family Hospital Dr. Mohammad Umar while speaking on topical issues of hepatitis on the second day of a scientific conference here. The Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) organised a scientific conference on 'Research - A Tool for Development in the 21st Century' on December 14-15. The scientific programme of the conference concluded on Saturday evening. The scientific programme was followed by a general body meeting of Rawalians (Association of Old and Current Graduates of Rawalpindi Medical College), which was largely attended.”

'Commercial donors' cater to 90% of transfusion [Pakistan]
“KARACHI: Ninety percent of the blood donated in Pakistan is by non-volunteer or commercial donors, and this blood is increasing the prevalence of HIV/ Aids and Hepatitis by 40 percent, said health experts here Thursday at a seminar on "HIV/Aids and Blood Safety" organized by the Hussaini Blood Bank in collaboration with the National and Sindh Aids Control Program and Transfusion Authority.”

Condoms proposed for Vic prisoners [Canada]
“A major policy reform, the Victorian government is considering giving the state's prisoners access to condoms. The move comes after studies showed more than half of male prisoners in Victoria had hepatitis C, the Herald Sun reported, and would end an eight-year ban on condoms in jails. Mr. Brumby would not confirm the initiative, but a spokesman for Corrections Minister Bob Cameron said the government was exploring ways to introduce condoms to prisons.”

Bile acid may improve hepatitis C therapy response
“NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A bile acid - called ursodeoxycholic acid -- may improve response to treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) who don't respond to standard therapy with interferon and ribavirin, Japanese researchers report in the medical journal Gut. Ursodeoxycholic acid is a secondary bile acid that breaks down fat, and reduces the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines. It also helps break down cholesterol that has formed into gall stones and increases bile flow in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.”

Tattoo health concerns spark FDA warning, as agency announces new tattoo study
“Tattoos carry serious health risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned on Friday, and it urged consumers to think about health and safety before getting tattoos. For its part, the FDA announced that it is implementing its own study of issues involved in the ancient art. The potential to transmit infections through unsterilized needles has been known for years; however, few investigations have reviewed health effects linked to tattoo inks and pigments, which is now an agency focus.”

Cubist Pharmaceuticals acquires Illumigen Biosciences
“Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Illumigen Biosciences, Inc. announced today that Cubist has acquired Illumigen pursuant to a definitive agreement and plan of merger entered into on December 24, 2007. Illumigen's lead compound is IB657, a protein therapeutic in pre-clinical development for the treatment of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections. Cubist expects that an IND for IB657 will be filed in 2008.”

Scientists closing in on hep C vaccine
“There is progress in the development of a vaccine for the hepatitis C virus. The main obstacle to a vaccine has always been the evolving nature of the virus, which affects around 200,000 Australians, and the different strains that can co-exist within the body to cause infection. The majority of those infected by the virus have such a weak immune system that their bodies cannot naturally fight the disease.”

Treatment could slow hep C
“EDMONTON - Researchers at the University of Alberta have teamed up with California scientists to devise a potential treatment that could, for the first time, head off hepatitis C -- especially in patients who have had liver transplants. Hepatitis C affects about 240,000 Canadians and an estimated three per cent of the world's population. The number of people infected is increasing rapidly in Canada and around the world, according to Health Canada. The disease is spread by contact with infected blood and needles.”

Campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C among health professionals is stepped up [Scotland]
“An information campaign targeted at professionals with the aim of improving their knowledge of Hepatitis C and tackling stigma is being stepped up. Launched nearly a year ago, the Scottish Government-led campaign has been focused on reaching around 16,000 health and non-health professionals, including GPs, NHS managers, Hepatitis C nurses, drug support workers and social workers, across the country.”


Pathology of chronic hepatitis C in children: Liver biopsy findings in the Peds-C Trial. Goodman ZD, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec 31 [Epub ahead of print].

Activity and safety of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid in inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma: A phase II study. Di Lorenzo G, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 28;13(48):6553-7.

Chronic hepatitis C virus infection: Prevalence of extrahepatic manifestations and association with cryoglobulinemia in Bulgarian patients. Stefanova-Petrova DV, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 28;13(48):6518-28.

Response rates to combination therapy for chronic HCV infection in a clinical setting and derivation of probability tables for individual patient management. Thomson BJ, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Interferon alfa-2b continuous long-term therapy versus repeated 24-week cycles for retreating chronic Hepatitis C. McHutchison JG, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Interferon Beta 1a versus Interferon Beta 1a plus Ribavirin for the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C in Chinese Patients: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Han Q, et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Dec 13 [Epub ahead of print].

Hepatitis B and C virus infection and the risk of biliary tract cancer: A population-based study in China. Hsing AW, et al. Int J Cancer. 2007 Dec 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Viral elimination reduces incidence of malignant lymphoma in patients with hepatitis C. Kawamura Y, et al. Am J Med. 2007 Dec;120(12):1034-41.

Treatment extension to 72 weeks of peginterferon and ribavirin in hepatitis c genotype 1-infected slow responders.Pearlman BL, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec;46(6):1688-94.

Pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin in patients with genotype 4 chronic hepatitis C: The role of rapid and early virologic response. Kamal SM, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec;46(6):1732-40.

Therapy of interferon-induced depression in chronic hepatitis C with citalopram: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Kraus MR, et al. Gut. 2007 Dec 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Viral elimination reduces incidence of malignant lymphoma in patients with hepatitis C. Kawamura Y, et al. Am J Med. 2007 Dec;120(12):1034-41.


Hla-Cw7 allele as predictor of favorable therapeutic response to interferon-alpha in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Ivic I, et al. Croat Med J. 2007 Dec;48(6):807-13.

Visualization of double-stranded RNA in cells supporting hepatitis C virus RNA replication. Targett-Adams P, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 19 [Epub ahead of print]

Identification of Three Interferon Inducible Cellular Enzymes that Inhibit the Replication of Hepatitis C Virus. Jiang D, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Predictive factors for interferon and ribavirin combination therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Yoon J, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 14;13(46):6236-42.

Aberrant methylation of multiple tumor suppressor genes in aging liver, chronic hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Nishida N, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec 26 [Epub ahead of print].

Human Butyrate-Induced Transcript 1 Interacts with Hepatitis C Virus NS5A and Regulates Viral Replication. Taguwa S, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 26 [Epub ahead of print].

Hepatitis C virus core protein upregulates serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and impairs downstream AKT/PKB signaling pathway for insulin resistance. Banerjee S, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 26 [Epub ahead of print]

Portal cd4+ and cd8+ t lymphocyte correlate to intensity of interface hepatitis in chronic hepatitis C. Viso AT, et al. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2007 Dec;49(6):371-378.

Transmission of low-density hepatitis C viral particles during sexually transmitted acute resolving infection. Diaz O, et al. J Med Virol. 2008 Feb;80(2):242-6.

Antibody dependent enhancement of hepatitis C infection. Meyer K, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 19 [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatitis C virus receptor expression in normal and diseased liver tissue. Reynolds GM, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Cellular determinants of hepatitis C virus assembly, maturation, degradation and secretion. Gastaminza P, et al. J Virol. 2007 Dec 19 [Epub ahead of print].

Broadly neutralizing antibodies protect against hepatitis C virus quasispecies challenge. Law M, et al. Nat Med. 2007 Dec 6 [Epub ahead of print]


Initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy with newer protease inhibitors is associated with better survival compared to first-generation protease inhibitors or nevirapine. Crane HM, et al. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2007 Dec;21(12):920-9.

Risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection in individuals infected with the HIV. Wolff FH, et al. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Dec 18 [Epub ahead of print]

A Qualitative Study Among Injection Drug Using Women in Rhode Island: Attitudes Toward Testing, Treatment, and Vaccination for Hepatitis and HIV. Lally MA, et al. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2007 Dec 20 [Epub ahead of print]


Interplay between oxidative stress and hepatic steatosis in the progression of chronic hepatitis C. Vidali M, et al. J Hepatol. 2007 Dec 3 [Epub ahead of print].

Herbal product use by persons enrolled in the hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) Trial. Seeff LB, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec 21 [Epub ahead of print].

Effect of Breathwalk on body composition, metabolic and mood state in chronic hepatitis C patients with insulin resistance syndrome. Vazquez-Vandyck M, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec 14;13(46):6213-8.


Clearance of Chronic HCV Infection During Acute Delta Hepatitis. Deterding K, et al. Infection. 2007 Dec 14 [Epub ahead of print].

Socioeconomic context, distance to primary care and detection of hepatitis C: A French population-based study. Monnet E, et al. Soc Sci Med. 2007 Dec 27 [Epub ahead of print].

Limited Uptake of Hepatitis C Treatment Among Injection Drug Users. Mehta SH, et al. J Community Health. 2007 Dec 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Increasing the uptake of hepatitis C virus testing among injecting drug users in specialist drug treatment and prison settings by using dried blood spots for diagnostic testing: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Hickman M, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Mode of transmission, rather than the hepatitis C virus, as a major determinant of poor interpersonal relationships in patients with chronic hepatitis C. LA TP, Deschęnes M. Can J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec;21(12):815-9.

Estimating past hepatitis C infection risk from reported risk factor histories: implications for imputing age of infection and modeling fibrosis progression. Bacchetti P, et al. BMC Infect Dis. 2007 Dec 10;7(1):145 [Epub ahead of print]

Co-morbid medical and psychiatric illness and substance abuse in HCV-infected and uninfected veterans. Butt AA, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2007 Dec;14(12):890-6.

Views of hepatitis C virus patients delayed from treatment for psychiatric reasons. Rowan PJ, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2007 Dec;14(12):883-9.

Therapy expectations and physical comorbidity affect quality of life in chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Taliani G, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2007 Dec;14(12):875-882.

Sensitivity of a rapid immuno-chromatographic test for Hepatitis C antibodies detection. Desbois D, et al. J Clin Virol. 2007 Dec 7 [Epub ahead of print]

Wedged hepatic venous pressure does not reflect portal pressure in patients with cirrhosis and hepatic veno-venous communications. Osada Y, et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Jan;53(1):7-13. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Hepatitis C virus does not infect muscle, the intervertebral disk, or the meniscus in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Bartolomé J, et al. J Med Virol. 2007 Dec;79(12):1818-20.

Detection and quantitation of HCV RNA using real-time PCR after automated sample processing. Sandres-Sauné K, et al. J Med Virol. 2007 Dec;79(12):1821-6.

Measurement of Ribavirin Plasma Concentrations by High-performance Liquid Chromatography Using a Novel Solid-phase Extraction Method in Patients Treated for Chronic Hepatitis C. Morello J, et al. Ther Drug Monit. 2007 Dec;29(6):802-806.

Performance of Doppler ultrasound in the prediction of severe portal hypertension in hepatitis C virus-related chronic liver disease. Vizzutti F, et al. Liver Int. 2007 Dec;27(10):1379-88.

Impact of storage conditions on genetic analysis or viral load determination in clinical specimens. Paolo G, et al. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2007 Dec 13 [Epub ahead of print].

Liver disease in adolescents: A cohort study of high-risk individuals. Van der Poorten D, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec;46(6):1750-8.

Impact of diabetes mellitus on prognosis of patients infected with hepatitis C virus. Kita Y, et al. Metabolism. 2007 Dec;56(12):1682-8.

Predictors of treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection - role of patient versus nonpatient factors. Kanwal F, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec;46(6):1741-9.

Optical analysis of computed tomography images of the liver predicts fibrosis stage and distribution in chronic hepatitis C. Romero-Gómez M, et al. Hepatology. 2007 Dec 20 [Epub ahead of print]

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