January 31, 2012
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will be a site for clinical trials of new hepatitis C drugs currently being studied, said Dr. Kapil Chopra, director of the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases.
Chopra is among area hepatology specialists who are hopeful the trials will lead to new hepatitis C treatment options. "There are several newer therapies in the pipelines which are waiting," said Chopra. "Some have had Phase I and Phase II studies; some have completed Phase I and Phase II studies or have completed I and go on to II. It's fair to say that in the next three to five years we will see several newer antiviral agents available for people ... in the [United States]."
"I'm very optimistic that further improvements in hepatitis C treatment are not too far distant. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will have even better options for patients in two to three years," said Dr. Michael Babich, program director of gastroenterology and hepatology at West Penn Allegheny Health System.
A goal is to eliminate the need for interferon to treat hepatitis C, as it is the cause of most treatment side effects. "I foresee that before too long we may see cure rates in the rate of 90 percent or better. I can foresee agents that are easier to use, with fewer pills taken less often and associated with fewer side effects," said Babich.
For more information on the hepatitis C drug trials at UPMC, telephone 800-447-1651.
01.09.2012; Pohla Smith
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