Research Suggests Drugs For Hepatitis C Can Lower Liver-Related Fatality

Market Expertz   |     September 02, 2019


Research from the UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center suggests that antiviral drugs for hepatitis C can decrease liver-related deaths by almost 50 percent in patients who have a history of liver cancer. The team’s work builds upon a December 2018 study carried out by the same researchers who invalidated the belief that antiviral drugs increase the risk of recurrence of liver cancer. The findings of the team, led by Dr. Amit Singal, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine; Medical Director, UT Southwestern Liver Tumor Program; and Clinical Chief of Hepatology, has been published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Dr. Singal collaborated with Dr. Caitlin Murphy, Assistant Professor, Population and Data Sciences and Internal Medicine. They are both members of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern. The pair’s studies aim to overturn misconceptions that limited the doctors to prescribe direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C to patients with a history of liver cancer. Many doctors believed that hepatitis C, due to its harmfulness, triggers the immune system when it infects the liver and the immune system successfully evaded liver cancer recurrence, although, this belief appears to be false. Dr. Singal and Murphy inspected almost 800 patients from 31 medical centers through the country and found that the drugs are not just safe but are also able to cut deaths resulting from cirrhosis and liver cancer by 46 percent. Dr. Singal has commented that their study proves that the drugs are not only safe for patients but are also beneficial.

The new study is a breakthrough in the field as it paves the way for beneficial drug treatment. Hepatitis C therapy is essential because the infection can potentially lead to cirrhosis, which can be fatal. Cirrhosis can also increase the risk of liver cancer. Treatment involving antiviral drugs can lead to an improvement in liver function among patients who have previously developed cirrhosis.

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