Health Watch -- Research Update: Hepatitis C Drug

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about some important recent findings in medical research. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are testing a new drug to help fight hepatitis C infection. This form of hepatitis is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer leading to transplants. It’s primarily spread through intravenous drug use, and often lies dormant for decades, causing no symptoms. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for this form of the disease. It’s currently treated with drugs that boost the immune system to fight the virus.

The new drug is a protease inhibitor, which keeps the virus from replicating. Dr. William Lee, the UT Southwestern liver expert leading the study, says tests of the new drug are still preliminary, but it could be a major breakthrough in treatment of hepatitis C.
 

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January 2006

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