As promised, I queried my Mayo hepatologist today about
the new Vertex treatment in American trials that combines Telaprevir with interferon and ribavirin. She said there is 75% clearance of HCV in the latest phase of trials. She said there had been some relapse, but not as great as on the combo. The protocol is for 12 wks. of the trio, then 12 wks. of the interferon and ribavirin alone.
Another US company, Genentech, has a similar trio in trials, but their 3rd drug is Danoprevir. Genentech's trials have been primarily in Europe. At this point, it is unknown which treatment plan will first receive FDA approval. However, one or the other is anticipated to be approved in 6 months to a year. Medicare is expected to cover it.
I asked if there would be any particular testing I would need to undergo prior to starting treatment and she said there was not.
The doctor also mentioned that researchers have isolated a gene that predicts whether a patient will respond to interferon. I don't know if that would play into who will get the new treatment or not.
So hang in there, all those who currently have active hep C. There is better treatment coming!
Mike, cirrhosis (which is basically scarring in the liver) never goes away once you have it, but if the HCV is no longer active then further scarring should not occur.
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"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland