A new protease inhibitor is showing promise for the nearly 50 percent of patients who remain unresponsive to the standard drug regimen to treat hepatitis C.
Research results from a study presented Monday at the annual American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases meeting show a protease inhibitor part of a class of drugs also used to treat HIV-positive patients lowers the virus count in the bloodstream of patients who have not responded well to the current drug regimen, which includes pegylated interferon alfa, which is injected once a week, and ribavirin, taken in pill-form twice daily.
Saint Louis University will be the only St. Louis site participating in the clinical trials taking place worldwide to measure the effectiveness of this protease inhibitor. It is the first study of its kind using a new protease inhibitor along with peg-interferon to help treat patients with hepatitis C.
The work being presented at this years American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases on new protease inhibitors is extremely exciting and ushers in a new era for patients with chronic hepatitis C, says Bruce Bacon, MD, director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the SLU clinical trials. The phase II study that is starting now will determine the success of this protease inhibitor in conjunction with peg-interferon and with or without ribavirin in treating patients who previously have not responded well to current treatments. Our expectations are that many patients who were not effectively treated will be cured.
Source: Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center