The program: Cumberland County's Treatment Court
“Judge Skip Ebert smiled as Brian, a husky guy in a muscle shirt, walked to the front of his Cumberland County courtroom. "How's the interferon going?" Ebert asked. Brian, a recovering addict in the county's treatment court program, had just begun that therapy to combat the Hepatitis C that imperiled his health. "I'm just glad I'm finally getting this started," he told the judge. "That's my goal. If I'm not drinking and doing drugs that'll save my life.
"Hepatitis affects your liver. If you drink, that can really kill you." Lives hang in the balance in treatment court, or "drug court" as its promoters and participants call it. Some clients might really die if they don't end their spirals of addiction. For others, prison is their only future.” Read more…
U.S. government sets infection control goals
“WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Urinary infections caused by improper use and placement of catheters are the top cause of infections among hospital patients, but simple measures can prevent them, the U.S. government said on Tuesday. The Health and Human Services Department released a plan to reduce hospital infections, which kill an estimated 99,000 people a year, affect 1.7 million patients and cost nearly $20 billion.
Besides catheter-linked urinary infections, the most common causes of infections linked with hospitals are surgical site infections, bloodstream infections from intravenous lines and pneumonia from ventilators, HHS said in the report.” Read more…
A dose of reality
An increase in cases of hepatitis C among injecting drug users has led to calls to reverse the dramatic fall in needle exchanges.
“In terms of its public profile, hepatitis C is a poor relation of the HIV virus. However, an estimated 170 million people worldwide are infected with the blood-borne virus, and many of them have no idea they are walking around with it until years or even decades later. Twenty years after becoming infected, one in six people develop serious liver damage; after 30 years, the figure is nearly a quarter.
New figures published by the Health Protection Agency show that there has been an increase in hepatitis C among injecting drug users. In the late 1990s, a fifth of injectors became infected within three years of starting to inject, but now around 50% of injectors have the virus. Because the virus is able to survive outside the body for longer than HIV, it is relatively easy to become infected with it, and the main route of transmission in this country is among drug users who share injection paraphernalia.” Read more…
Hepatitis C can't slow down Natalie Cole
The Cole must go on
“Last year, Natalie Cole did something she's rarely had to do in her long career. She canceled a number of shows. “In 30 years, I think I've canceled five, maybe 10 shows,” she said. “That's just something I don't do.”
The singer had to back out because she was recovering from the effects of treatment she received for Hepatitis C. Cole had known for months that something wasn't quite right physically. Last April, a series of blood tests revealed she had been infected with the liver virus, which she most likely contracted by sharing needles as a heroin user during the 1970s and '80s.” Read more…
Get tested now, says hepatitis C survivor Susan
“A former teacher who has overcome the blood disease hepatitis C has made a fresh plea to people who think they may be at risk to get tested. Susan Wright discovered she had the potentially fatal illness during a medical check-up for an insurance company in 2003.
Mrs Wright, aged 51, stopped drinking, went through a programme of treatment in 2006-07 and has now been declared free of the virus. Last year, she became the face of a publicity campaign in a bid to dispel the stigma surrounding the blood disease. Now the mother of four wants to warn others that they could have the condition without knowing it.
Mrs Wright, of Hulton Lane, Deane, said: “It was only by chance that I found out I had hepatitis C. I got it because I dabbled with drugs when I was younger. In my early 20s I did some pretty crazy stuff, not knowing there were such risks.” Read more…
Hepatitis C drug from Anadys shows quick virus-killing punch
“An early peek at data from Anadys Pharmaceuticals suggests the company may have a promising new drug in the works for hepatitis C. The San Diego-based biotech is announcing results today from the first eight patients with the chronic liver infection, which shows its drug has more viral killing pop in the first three days of treatment than was seen in other drugs studied in its class, with minimal side effects.
The company found that its experimental medicine was able to wipe out 99 percent of the virus from the blood (known as a 2.5 logarithmic reduction) within 72 hours at the lowest dose tested in a Phase I clinical trial, says CEO Steve Worland. This finding was in the first group of patients who took a 200 milligram, twice-daily dose of ANA598. It is just the first slice of data available, and the trial is continuing to enroll patients at two higher doses, Worland says. The company hopes to present full data at the European Association for the Study of the Liver meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in April.” Read more…
Joseph Bolduc Jr., 56, activist and former firefighter
“Joseph J. Bolduc Jr., 56, of Port Richmond, a neighborhood activist and a former Philadelphia firefighter and paramedic, died of complications from liver cancer Wednesday at Northeast Hospital.
Mr. Bolduc believed he contracted hepatitis C while serving in the Fire Department from 1984 to 1988, his son Christopher said. The disease led to liver cancer, which was diagnosed in 2005. He had a liver transplant in 2006, but the cancer returned the following year. Mr. Bolduc was active in the Philadelphia firefighters' union's effort to seek improved health benefits and testing for members exposed to hepatitis C, his son said.” Read more…
Human Genome Sciences announces initiation of phase 2b trial of Albuferon(R) dosed monthly in chronic hepatitis C
“Human Genome Sciences, Inc. today announced that Novartis has initiated dosing in a Phase 2b trial that will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Albuferon(R) (albinterferon alfa-2b) administered monthly in combination with ribavirin in treatment-naive patients with genotypes 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C. Albuferon is being developed by HGS and Novartis under an exclusive worldwide co-development and commercialization agreement entered into in June 2006.
"Patients undergoing treatment for chronic hepatitis C often find it challenging to participate in normal daily activities, especially in the days following dose administration," said Stephen Pianko, M.D., F.R.A.C.P., Ph.D., Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. "Pegylated interferons, the current standard of care, require administration once every week. Albinterferon alfa-2b dosed every four weeks with a total of six injections could offer an important treatment option, if it demonstrates comparable safety and efficacy vs. peginterferon alfa-2a dosed weekly with a total of 24 injections."” Read more…
Colorado testing campaign finds link between HIV, hepatitis C
“A Western Colorado AIDS Project HIV and hepatitis C testing campaign has found an average 12% positive rate for hepatitis C among HIV-positive people and injection drug users who access the organization's services.
The hepatitis C positive rate, which is the highest in the state, has remained constant since last fiscal year despite an increase in the number of people being tested, Rabeeha Ghaffar, prevention resource director at WestCAP, said. "Usually when you increase the tests the positivity rate goes down, so that is telling me that it is a very alarming concern," Ghaffar said. The testing program began in 2005 after WestCAP staff noticed that 10% of HIV-positive clients also had hepatitis C.” Read more…
Hep C inquiry chairman appointed (Scotland)
“A chairman has been appointed to lead a public inquiry into the deaths of two people who contracted Hepatitis C through NHS blood products. Lord Penrose will chair the probe into how Eileen O'Hara and Rev David Black contracted the virus while in NHS care. It follows complaints by relatives of the victims over the length of time it has taken to start the inquiry. The Scottish Government said the withdrawal of the original chair, judge Lady Cosgrove, had led to the delay.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament the inquiry will be known as the Penrose Inquiry. She said: "I have every sympathy with those who have suffered or lost loved ones as a result of Hepatitis C or HIV infection through NHS treatment with blood or blood products.
"I hope the Penrose Inquiry can provide answers and the closure which I know they so desperately want. "This inquiry will also ensure that all possible lessons are learned to prevent such a tragedy occurring again."” Read more…
InterMune shares rise on hepatitis C study data
“Shares of biotechnology company InterMune Inc. rose Monday after the company reported positive results from early-stage studies of its hepatitis C drug candidate in combination with two other treatments. Calif.-based InterMune said results from all six completed Phase 1b clinical trials shows ITMN-191 treated the virus, or reduced the viral load in patients. Early-stage studies are not often used to measure a drug's effectiveness, as they are typically too small to yield sufficient results.
The studies are typically only used to assess safety and dosing, though investors were looking out for any indication the drug might be competitive in what could be a crowded field of treatments.” Read more…
New phase of national hepatitis C awareness campaign launched for GPs (England)
“The Department of Health is gearing up to launch a hepatitis C public health campaign to improve detection and diagnosis among the 100,000 people in England who are thought to be unaware they have the infection. The campaign will get underway at the start of next month with radio and press advertising to remind the public of life experiences that could have exposed them to infection.
GPs will be encouraged to support the campaign by offering information and testing for patients in at risk groups. The campaign coincides with the 20th anniversary of the virus being identified and follows a recent letter from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officers to Primary Care Trusts on improving the detection and diagnosis of hepatitis C in primary care.” Read more…
Hep C scandal (Ireland)
“There is something deeply disturbing about a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to drop all charges in the last remaining case involving the infection of women with hepatitis C. Nobody will now be prosecuted for the injuries and deaths visited on more than 1,000 people by contaminated blood products over a period of 15 years. This public failure is part of a pattern whereby prominent individuals charged with serious offences have not been tried as a result of a culture of official apathy, excessive delays and legal challenges.
It has taken more than 10 years and a succession of legal actions to reach this unsatisfactory conclusion. No wonder the surviving women who were infected by hepatitis C are angry. We should be angry too. Without accountability in public life, dangerous practices, inadequate services and political corruption will persist. At this time of economic transition, the opportunity for root and branch reform of our administrative and legal structures must be taken.” Read more…
Hepatitis C action plan 'delayed'
“An action plan drawn up to tackle the growing threat posed by hepatitis C in Wales is three years behind schedule, according to a group of MPs. A parliamentary report claims the Welsh Assembly Government has drafted the plan, originally due in 2006, but has failed to publish it.
The Hepatitis C Trust accused ministers in Wales of "ignoring" sufferers. The assembly government said Health Minister Edwina Hart was expected to publish the plan shortly. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and hepatitis C is one of several viruses that can causes the illness.” Read more…
Hepatitis C ups liver cancer risk, study confirms
“ The risk of a rare form of liver cancer called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, which occurs in the bile ducts of the liver, is significantly elevated in individuals who are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to a large "case-control" study of US veterans. HCV-infected individuals are also at increased risk for another type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma, the study shows. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
The findings stem from a look at 146,394 HCV-infected and 572,293 uninfected adults, mostly men, who were followed for an average of more than 2 years. When comparing HCV-infected with HCV-uninfected subjects, the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was 15-fold higher in the infected group and the risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma was 2.5-fold higher. The risk of pancreatic cancer was 23 percent higher.” Read more…
Bristol Myers Squibb: strengthening the hepatitis C pipeline
“Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired the rights to co-develop PEG-Interferon lambda for the treatment of hepatitis C from ZymoGenetics. Although current interferon alpha therapy is relatively successful in treating hepatitis C infection, it has several drawbacks, leaving significant room for the development of alternative interferon products as well as novel classes.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has formed a global partnership with ZymoGenetics to develop PEG-Interferon lambda, which is currently in Phase Ib development for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Having successfully penetrated the hepatitis B and HIV markets, this collaboration indicates that BMS is keen to expand its presence into the HCV field. The company also has two small molecule antivirals in early stage development for the treatment of HCV.” Read more…
Manhattan dialysis center notifies patients of possible exposure to infections
“A Manhattan dialysis center is notifying patients after the facility identified, and a State Department of Health (DOH) investigation confirmed, one patient who contracted hepatitis C after undergoing dialysis there. Approximately 170 patients of the Upper Manhattan Dialysis Center of Beth Israel Medical Center at 2465-67 Broadway in Manhattan are being notified in person or by mail that they may have been exposed to hepatitis C and possibly other bloodborne viruses while being treated at the facility.” Read more…
Hepatitis task force fights to keep funding
“A law that provided about $10,000 annually to prevent the spread of hepatitis in Anne Arundel County is set to expire by the end of the year. Members of the Maryland Viral Hepatitis Task Force said they hope to maintain the funding by educating lawmakers about the liver disease. The group hosted its first Hepatitis C Education Day at the House of Delegates building in Annapolis on Wednesday in an attempt to keep the law on the books.
In Maryland, an estimated 100,000 people have the illness and a majority are unaware they have it, according to the group. According to the latest figures available from the county Health Department, in 2007, 595 people in the county were diagnosed with acute or chronic hepatitis C, while another 166 people had acute or chronic hepatitis B.” Read more…
Study supports early initiation of HIV treatment by HIV/hepatitis C co-infected patients
“Early initiation of HIV treatment can help prevent liver damage in HIV/hepatitis C co-infected patients, French investigators report in the February edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The investigators suggest that, in co-infected patients who have not responded to treatment for hepatitis C, “early highly active antiretroviral therapy may help to protect the liver”.
The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that HIV treatment can help reduce the risk of liver-related illness and death in co-infected patients. Current UK HIV treatment guidelines state that co-infected patients should be encouraged to start treatment when their CD4 cell count is in the region of 350 cells/mm3. A separate Danish study reported here on aidsmap.com showed that the preservation of a functioning immune system reduced the risk of liver-related death for co-infected patients to such an extent that it was no different to that seen in patients only infected with hepatitis C.” Read more…
In fight for his life, Isle of Wight officer needs help from the law
“Kurt Beach, a Smithfield police officer, has the undying loyalty of his wife, Kathie, as he waits and hopes for a lifesaving liver transplant.For many of the townspeople of Smithfield, Kathie’s husband, Kurt Beach, is just that as a veteran of the Smithfield Police Department. But now, the well-known lieutenant is fighting for his life and fighting the law.
Twenty years ago, in February 1988, Beach responded to an emergency call for an infant who wasn’t breathing. Basic CPR techniques were futile due to obstructing particles in the child’s throat, so Beach had to suck out the clogging blood and mucous particles. Doing that, says Beach, “I got the airway to open up and started to give CPR.”
It wasn’t until 1994 that police officers and first responders in Smithfield were instructed about the potential for contracting diseases via blood-borne pathogens. Beach immediately had himself tested for two common blood-borne diseases: hepatitis and HIV. The tests came back negative. But when Beach tried to donate blood to the American Red Cross later in the year, he received a letter saying that his blood had been detected as having “non-A, non-B Hepatitis.”” Read more…
Schering-Plough completes enrollment of boceprevir registration studies in treatment-naive and treatment-experienced HCV patients
“Schering-Plough Corporation today reported that it has completed patient enrollment in the boceprevir HCV SPRINT-2 study, a pivotal Phase III study in treatment-naive patients. Together with the HCV RESPOND-2 study, a pivotal Phase III study in patients who failed prior treatment that completed enrollment in November 2008, the Company has fully enrolled its registration studies for boceprevir, its lead investigational oral hepatitis C protease inhibitor. A total of more than 1,500 patients were enrolled in these studies at U.S. and international sites.
"We believe boceprevir has the potential to be a first-in-class and best-in-class protease inhibitor for treating chronic hepatitis C," said Thomas P. Koestler, Ph.D., executive vice president and president, Schering-Plough Research Institute. "We are very encouraged by the boceprevir study results reported to date and look forward to the completion of these registration studies." The Company expects to complete the studies in mid-2010.” Read more…
Rights ruling for hep C sufferer
“The Human Rights Commission is heralding a recent decision involving a young woman who's struggle with drug addiction has brought her to public attention. Sonya Harvey filed a complaint against a local esthetics training centre, charging discrimination. The Board of Inquiry ruled that Harvey was discriminated against as a result of being diagnosed with hepatitis C. Human Rights Commission Executive Director Carey Majid says while it's not common, issues surrounding discrimination based on being diagnosed with a communicable disease do come up from time to time.
Majid says Harvey was refunded her tuition fee and a copy of the decision has been provided to the department of education in order to seek changes to the entry requirements for private training institutions regarding medical certification. There may still be an appeal of the case. Sharon Woodford told VOCM Night Line with Ryan Cleary that Harvey withdrew from their aesthetics training program on the advice of her doctor. She says Sonya left on good faith that she could return when her treatment was finished.” Read more…
Clinical update - Debio 025 in hepatitis C
Debiopharm starts phase iib triple therapy study, a promising therapeutic avenue
“Debiopharm Group, a global biopharmaceutical development specialist that focuses on serious medical conditions and particularly oncology, announced today the randomisation of its first patient in a phase IIb clinical study with Debio 025, a selective cyclophilin (Cyp) inhibitor with a potent anti-hepatitis C (HCV) effect. This multinational, double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study will investigate the efficacy and safety of three different treatment regimens combining Debio 025 with Peg interferon alpha 2a (peg-IFNalpha2a) and ribavirin in treatment-naive chronic HCV genotype 1 patients.” Read more…
Natalie Cole to undergo kidney transplant to fight hepatitis C
“Natalie Cole's sister has reportedly decided to donate her kidney to the singer, who is suffering from the chronic liver disease Hepatitis C. The eight-time Grammy Award-winner was believed to have contracted the condition owing to her drug addiction during the 80s and has been treated for kidney failure since September last year. It was claimed that the doctors had told Cole that she needed a transplant and her sister Timolin's kidney was said to have been a match for her ailing sister.
"After (she learned of the match), Natalie kept saying, 'I can't believe this! I'm so blessed," Contact music quoted a source as telling the National Enquirer. "My sister's giving me a tomorrow. She's saving my life,'" the source added.” Read more…
Homemade tattoo risks
“When done right, tattooing is an art form, but in the wrong hands, the results could leave you with a skin infection or be downright deadly. "The worst case scenario,"says Dr. John Ven Glarcik, "you could get things like blood born pathogens; HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, all of which have serious if not potentially fatal complications."
Debbie Lenz has worked as a tattoo artist for three decades and owns Artistic Dermagraphics in Boardman. She says she hears horror stories of people getting tattooed out of someone's house or garage everyday. "My prediction, you know, being around this business for more than 30 years, is that eventually, you know, within the next 10 years or so, there's going to be a surge of Hepatitis C cases which is going to be devastating."” Read more…
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