Thursday, February 10, 2011

Genetic Research and Treatment for Hepatitis C

When my doc told me that she was adding a genetic test to my standing lab work order - specifically, to identify the IL-28B polymporphism - I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. I was unaware that genetic testing was being conducted on Hepatitis C issues. Go, researchers!

Studies on this topic were released at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) held last Oct./Nov. in Boston. In its coverage of the conference, provides a solid overview of IL-28B:
The IL28B rs12979860 SNP has 2 variations, or alleles, "C" and "T." Hepatitis C patients with the homozygous or matching C/C pattern (2 copies of the "C" allele) are most likely to spontaneously clear HCV and have the best response to interferon-based therapy. People with the T/T pattern (2 "T" alleles) have the least favorable response, while those with the heterozygous or mixed C/T pattern (1 copy of each variation) fall in between.
It appears that doctors will increasingly rely on the this test as they determine treatment strategies for Hep C. Such is the case for me. The test revealed that I am C/T. Given the outcome of my biopsy and this blood test, what treatment will be best for me? I'll find out in two weeks when I meet with my doctor.

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