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Home Industry News Schering Plough begins liver transplant, hepatitis C trials

Schering Plough begins liver transplant, hepatitis C trials

24th May 2006

Schering-Plough has announced it has begun trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new combination therapy targeted at liver transplant patients with recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Using peginterferon alfa-2b and Rebetol (ribavirin), Schering-Plough will test the therapy on 125 HCV-infected patients at eight liver transplant centres in North America. It says that only a few small studies have been conducted for this combination, while it is unclear what effect they will have in post-liver transplant patients with HCV.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is a synthetic interferon – the proteins produced by the body’s immunological cells in response to a foreign body or antigen. Rebetol is a ribavirin antiviral drug which is administered orally for HCV cases, although it is available in aerosol form for other diseases.

Fred Gordon of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts, who is leading the study, remarked: “A large multicentre study in liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV is needed to better understand how to maximise treatment outcomes for these patients.”

“Given the potential for diminished long-term survival and the shortage of available resources for liver transplant patients with HCV recurrence, viral eradication is an important goal of treatment and would benefit both patients and society,” he concluded.

According to the UK Hepatitis C Resource Centre, 600,000 Britons are estimated to have contracted the infection, while other European countries generally show a similar or higher prevalence. It adds that approximately 200 million people worldwide are infected with HCV.

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