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Research Team Led by Intermountain Medical Center Physician Discovers New Cure for Hepatitis C Virus in Patients with Advanced Liver Disease

Intermountain Healthcare (news release)

Dec 10, 2015

About 2.7 million people in the United States have a chronic hepatitis C virus infection, which can lead to liver failure or death. But thanks to new research led by researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, there's new hope for patients with advanced liver disease due to the chronic viral infection.

Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center have found a new cure for these patients: an all-oral treatment regimen of specific medications that results in high cure rates of hepatitis C virus infection in patients following treatment.

The research team, led by Michael Charlton, MD, medical director of the Liver Transplantation Program at Intermountain Medical Center, just published results of the nationwide study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Charlton will announce results of the study and the implications for patients with advanced liver disease due to the hepatitis C virus at a press briefing at Intermountain Medical Center on Friday at 11 a.m.

The results are highly promising, he says.

"During the study, liver function was seen to stabilize or improve in the great majority of patients following treatment," said Dr. Charlton, who served as principal investigator of the ASTRAL-4 trial, a study between Intermountain Medical Center and some of the leading academic medical centers across the nation. The study included investigators at 50 sites throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

"Although longer follow-up is needed, the ability to achieve a high cure rate of hepatitis C in patients with advanced liver disease - and the observation of early stabilization and improvement of liver function - raises the possibility of decreasing the number of patients with hepatitis C who need liver transplantation."

Currently, liver failure due to hepatitis C is the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States and Europe.

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