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Hepatitis C

CROI 2010: Moderate Liver Fibrosis Predicts Disease and Death in HIV/HCV Coinfected People, but Successful Treatment Appears Protective

Even moderate liver fibrosis (greater than stage F1) in HIV/HCV coinfected patients is associated with adverse clinical outcomes including liver cancer, liver failure, and death, investigators reported at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses & Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2010) last week in San Francisco. However, effective HIV treatment producing long-term viral suppression and successful hepatitis C treatment leading to sustained virological response appeared to be protective.

CROI 2010: Hepatitis C Virus Can Survive in Syringes Up to 2 Months under Favorable Conditions

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can survive under certain conditions for prolonged periods in syringes used to inject drugs, thereby increasing the potential for HCV transmission, researchers reported at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2010) last week in San Francisco. These findings are important for shaping needle exchange policies and practices.


Daily Coffee Consumption Is Linked to Less Severe Liver Fibrosis

Daily caffeine consumption from about 2 cups of coffee was associated with reduced liver fibrosis, according to results of a study published in the January 2010 issue of Hepatology. The protective effect persisted after controlling for age, sex, race, weight, liver disease, and alcohol intake, though it was more pronounced in people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The researchers found, however, that consumption of decaffeinated coffee -- or of caffeine from sources other than coffee -- was not associated with reduced fibrosis.


Can Some Genotype 1 Chronic Hepatitis C Patients Benefit from Shorter Interferon-based Treatment?

Carefully selected genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C patients who experience rapid virological response (RVR) by week 4 of treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin may be able to achieve sustained virological response (SVR) with 24 instead of 48 weeks of therapy, according to a meta-analysis reported in the January 2010 Journal of Hepatology. However, the researchers cautioned, overall sustained response rates are significantly lower with shorter treatment, and this strategy should only be considered for individuals with low pre-treatment HCV viral load and an undetectable level at week 4.


African Americans with Hepatitis C Have Worse Outcomes than White Patients after Liver Transplantation

African-American individuals who undergo liver transplants due to complications of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection experience more rapid post-transplant fibrosis progression and histological inflammation compared with white patients, even though they tend to experience slower pre-transplant disease progression, according to a study presented at the recent 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD 2009) in Boston.

MIT and Rockefeller University Researchers Develop Method for Growing Hepatitis C Virus in Healthy Human Liver Cells

Research on the lifecycle of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and development of effective therapies has been hampered by the fact that the virus is difficult to grow in liver cells in the laboratory; instead, investigators have used "replicon" models or a specific strain of HCV in cancerous liver cells. But now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Rockefeller University have found a way to sustain viral replication for up to 3 weeks in healthy liver cells, as reported in the February 1, 2010 advance online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

AASLD 2009: Study Looks at Factors Affecting Survival of HIV/HCV Coinfected Liver Transplant Recipients

While HIV/HCV coinfected patients can have good outcomes after liver transplantation, acute organ rejection remains a risk factor and survival does not match that of HIV negative people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) alone, according to a study presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD 2009) this month in Boston.

Liver Transplant Do Not Impair Immune Response in HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients

HIV/HCV coinfected patients who undergo liver transplantation do not lose immune responses to hepatitis C virus (HCV), HIV, or opportunistic infections, according to an analysis reported in the December 2009 Journal of Hepatology. This study adds to the evidence that appropriately selected coinfected individuals can be suitable candidates for liver transplants.

Rapid Liver Fibrosis Progression and Successful Treatment of Acute Infection Suggest Benefits of Routine HCV Screening for HIV Positive Men

Researchers from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine presented data last week at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in Boston that further characterize a cohort of HIV positive men with apparently sexually transmitted acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This group continues to experience more rapid than expected liver fibrosis progression. Hepatitis C treatment has been highly successful if started during the acute phase, but less so thereafter. The researchers recommended routine ALT and HCV antibody testing to allow for prompt treatment and to prevent liver disease progression.alt