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Hepatitis B

Telbivudine Prevents Mother-to-Child Hepatitis B Virus Transmission

Women with a high hepatitis B viral load who were treated with the antiviral drug telbivudine (Tyzeka) had a lower risk of transmitting the virus to their babies during pregnancy or birth -- in fact, none did so -- compared to untreated women whose infants only received standard immunoprophylaxis, according to a Chinese study reported in the June edition of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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EASL 2015: Using Interferon with Hepatitis B Antivirals Raises Likelihood of HBsAg Loss

Treating chronic hepatitis B with tenofovir plus pegylated interferon for 48 weeks resulted in a higher rate of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) clearance than either drug taken alone, though the response rate was still just 9%, according to a study presented at the recent European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress in Vienna. Other researchers reported that adding 48 weeks of interferon to nucleoside/nucleotide therapy increased the rate of HBsAg loss to about the same level, and switching to interferon may be effective for selected patients.

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EASL 2015: Prenylation Inhibitor Lonafarnib Lowers Hepatitis Delta Viral Load During Therapy

Lonafarnib, a farnesyl transferase inhibitor that interferes with viral assembly, reduced hepatitis delta virus (HDV) levels by more than 3 log in a Phase 2 study presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress last month in Vienna. Combining lonafarnib with pegylated interferon for 8 weeks led to significantly greater HDV RNA declines than lonafarnib alone, but boosting with ritonavir achieved an even greater effect with an all-oral regimen. HDV viral load rose again after stopping therapy, however, and researchers are now evaluating longer treatment durations.

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ASCO 2015: PD-1 Checkpoint Inhibitor Nivolumab Shows Promise against Liver Cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb's PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) was a star of the show at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting this week in Chicago, with study results showing that the drug demonstrated anti-tumor activity against hepatocellular carcinoma in a Phase 1/2 study, along with further Phase 3 evidence of its effectiveness against lung cancer and melanoma.

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EASL 2015: Nucleic Acid Polymer REP 2139-Ca Shows Promise Against Hepatitis B and Delta Viruses

The nucleic acid-based polymer REP 2139-Ca lowered hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) levels and significantly reduced hepatitis B and hepatitis delta viral loads when combined with immunotherapy, according to presentations at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress last month in Vienna.

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EASL 2015: Stopping Tenofovir is Safe for Hepatitis B Patients on Long-term Therapy

Most hepatitis B patients who stopped taking tenofovir (Viread) after more than 3 years on treatment had good outcomes, according to a presentation at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress last month in Vienna. Although all patients who stopped tenofovir saw their HBV viral load rise, most maintained normal ALT levels and only a few needed to restart therapy.

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EASL 2015: Expanded Vaccination and Treatment Could Help Eliminate Hepatitis B Worldwide

While universal infant hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination has already led to major advances in reducing new infections in some settings, further expansion of prevention and treatment are needed to significantly reduce HBV transmission and liver disease mortality, according to an analysis presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress this week in Vienna.

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EASL 2015: HBV Patients on Long-term Entecavir or Tenofovir Have Low Mortality, HCC Still a Risk

More than 95% of people with chronic hepatitis B were still alive after 5 years on antiviral therapy with entecavir (Baraclude) or tenofovir (Viread), and most deaths were due to non-liver-related causes, but hepatocellular carcinoma was still a major factor affecting mortality, researchers reported presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress last month in Vienna. 

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Global Hepatitis B Epidemic Treatable at Cost of Just $36 per Patient per Year

Large-scale production of generic entecavir (Baraclude) could cut the cost of first-line hepatitis B virus (HBV) therapy to just $36 per patient per year, according to a study published in the online edition of the Journal of Virus Eradication. The authors believe that this price could facilitate low-cost global therapy for hepatitis B. The cost of scaled-up generic production of entecavir was shown to be significantly cheaper than that associated with alternative therapies, including tenofovir (Viread).

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