Monday, August 17, 2009

Biomarker May Predict Success of Hep C Treatment

Thank God for modern medicine and medical research.

From Reuters, August 17, 2009
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A slight difference in a person's genetic code could determine whether they respond to a grueling round of treatment for hepatitis C infection or not, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.

Tests looking for that deviation could be used to help decide which patients are most likely to benefit, they said. The finding may also explain why some racial and ethnic groups fare more poorly on standard treatments than others...

"If you look at individuals with the good response genotype, about 80 percent of them will be cured. If you look at individuals with the poor-response genotype, about 30 percent of them will be cured," [said genetics researcher David Goldstein of Duke University, who led the study]. "That is just a huge, huge difference."

[The study] was funded by Schering-Plough, maker of one of two standard hepatitis C regimens -- a combination of Pegintron and the antiviral ribavirin.
Great research like this leaves pragmatic me with questions about the practical application of these findings - Will patients be screened for this biomarker prior to treatment? How much will the screening cost and when will it become a standard part of the process?

What do you think?

1 comment:

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

I think this is wonderful news. If a screening like this can help someone avoid a long period of course treatment that might otherwise end up being a big waste of time and money in the long run then I am all for it. But if there was even the slightest chance that it might payoff to run the gamut then I would certainly opt for the treatment if I knew it might help me in the long run.
I am glad to see you writing again and happy to hear you are back.