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Changes Proposed for Allocation of Donated Livers

For some patients transplantation is the only treatment for advanced liver disease due to chronic hepatitis B, hepatitis C, liver cancer, alcoholism, or other causes. But the supply of donor livers does not meet the demand, meaning that many people die while on a waiting list. As described in the September 2011 issue of Liver Transplantation, experts have been meeting for the past 2 years to develop a modified allocation system that aims to reduce wait-list mortality.

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Hepatitis Delta Found in 15% of HIV/HBV Coinfected People, Increases Risk of Death

Approximately 15% of people with HIV who test positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) also carry hepatitis delta virus (HDV), a defective virus that can only replicate in the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) but can lead to more severe liver damage, according to a recent European study.

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One-quarter of Patients Clear Hepatitis Delta with Pegylated Interferon

Treatment with pegylated interferon (Pegasys) -- either alone or in combination with the antiviral drug adefovir (Hepsera) -- led to clearance of hepatitis delta virus (HDV) and improvement in liver enzyme levels, according to a small study published in the January 27, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine. Adefovir alone, however, had no effect on HDV.

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High HBV Viral Load Predicts Liver Fibrosis and Cancer

High hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels were associated with worse liver fibrosis, hepatitis reactivation, and development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in hepatitis B "e" antigen (HBeAg) negative patients in 2 recent studies described in the July 2011 Journal of Viral Hepatitis.alt

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Does Previous Hepatitis B Exposure Increase Liver Cancer Risk?

People who were previously exposed to hepatitis B virus (HBV) have an increased likelihood of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) even if they clear the virus, according to a study presented at the recent American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases "Liver Meeting" (AASLD 2010) in Boston. These results suggest that individuals with prior HBV exposure, as well as those with chronic hepatitis B, could benefit from regular liver cancer monitoring.Jeffrey Tang and colleagues from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit conducted a retrospective cohort study to explore the association between hepatitis B serologic status and development of HCC among North American patients.

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Deferoxamine Shows Promise for Liver Cancer in People with Advanced Disease

Deferoxamine, a cancer drug that has an anti-proliferative effect on tumor cells, led to improvement of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 2 out of 10 patients with moderate-to-severe liver disease, according to a letter in the August 11, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine.

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Artificial Liver Device Improves Survival for Hepatitis B and C Patients with Decompensated Disease

An artificial liver device known as ELAD -- which runs a patient's blood through cartridges containing human liver cells -- conferred a significant survival advantage for people with acute decompensated liver disease related to chronic hepatitis B or C, according to a Chinese study presented at the recent American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases "Liver Meeting" (AASLD 2010) in Boston. After 3 years, 44% of ELAD users were still alive without liver transplants, compared with 18% in the standard therapy group.

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