Abbvie, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, NEJM, Pharmaceutical Companies / 29.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stefan Zeuzem, M.D. Professor of Medicine Chief Internal Medicine Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major global public health problem with more than 71 million people infected worldwide, and can result in significant morbidity and mortality, including liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death.1 This publication describes the efficacy and safety results from two Phase 3 clinical trials, ENDURANCE-1 and ENDURANCE-3, in patients with chronic HCV genotypes (GT) 1 or 3 infection who were treated with an all-oral, once-daily combination regimen of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA) glecaprevir (GLE) at 300 mg and pibrentasvir (PIB) at 120 mg. The findings from ENDURANCE-1 trial show that the GLE/PIB combination regimen (G/P) given for 8 weeks to HCV GT1 chronically infected non-cirrhotic treatment-naïve or treatment-experienced (with sofosbuvir and/or interferon with ribavirin) patients was safe and well-tolerated, achieved high efficacy with a sustained virologic response at post-treatment week 12 (SVR12) rate >99% and was non-inferior to 12-week treatment with G/P. The trial also included subjects who were co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and all of these subjects achieved SVR12 while maintaining HIV suppression throughout the study. ENDURANCE-3 trial results show that the G/P regimen given for 8 weeks to HCV GT3 chronically infected non-cirrhotic treatment-naïve patients was safe and well-tolerated, achieved high efficacy in this historically difficult to cure GT with an SVR12 rate >94%, and was non-inferior to 12-week treatment with G/P, which in turn was non-inferior to the treatment with 12-week DAA regimen of sofosbivir and daclatasvir.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Transplantation / 05.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School MGH Institute for Technology Assessment Boston, MA and Sumeyye Samur PhD Postdoctoral Fellow MGH-Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The number of patients who are in need of liver transplant continues to rise whereas the availability of organs remains limited, therefore, it becomes is important to utilize all available livers. Under the current practices, only Hep-C infected patients are eligible to receive infected livers. However, with the advent of high efficacy drugs, number of infected recipients has decreased over the last decade. On the other hand, with the rise of opioid use, number of Hep-C infected organs increased. With this contradiction, it becomes paramount of importance to utilize the infected livers which could help save more lives on the transplant waiting list. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 23.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Donna R. Cryer, JD
CEO, Global Liver Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this Council? Response: The Global Liver Institute operates my constantly assessing the liver health landscape for what we call advocacy gaps to determine where we allocate our time and resources. We identified NASH 2 years ago as an imminent global public health crisis due to the tens of millions of diagnosed and estimated undiagnosed patients rising with rates of obesity and diabetes with no concomitant recognition and activity by public, patients, or physicians. We decided to launch the NASH Council with collaborative patient and physician leadership and involving Hepatology but deliberately reaching out to primary care, endocrine, cardiology, and obesity organizations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 03.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Patrizia Carrieri PhD INSERM U912 - ORS PACA IHU - Faculté de Médecine Marseille, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is based on the longitudinal data of the French  ANRS HEPAVIH cohort of patients with HIV and Hepatitis C co-infection. This cohort was set up thanks to a collaboration between INSERM (National Institute of health and medical research) UMR912 in Marseille, the ISPED (public health and epidemiology institute) in Bordeaux and several hospital/university sites. Our INSERM team in Marseille is specialized in the study of the impact of behaviors on HIV and HCV outcomes, including mortality. We could think that HCV cure was enough to reduce mortality in HIV-HCV patients as the mortality risk was 80% lower in those who were cured of (i.e. who “cleared”) Hepatitis C thanks to treatment. However, our study showed that, even after HCV cure, sociobehavioral factors still matter: drinking at least 3 cups of coffee a day was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality risk as well as not smoking which was also associated with a reduced mortality risk. This association between elevated coffee intake and reduced mortality risk is probably due to the properties of polyphenols contained in coffee which can protect the liver and also reduce inflammation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 18.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mauricio Berriel Diaz Deputy Director & Head of Division Metabolic Dysfunction and Cancer Institute for Diabetes and Cancer IDC Helmholtz Center Munich and Joint Heidelberg-IDC Translational Diabetes Program Heidelberg University Hospital, Molecular Metabolic Control Medical Faculty, Technical University Munich Neuherberg, Germany  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our institute takes part in a german collaborative research consortium (https://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php?id=132204&L=1), in which the key objective is to understand why in diabetes mellitus late complications occur even when blood sugar is well controlled. Our study focused the role of the liver and of inflammatory signaling, as the latter is known to be increased in metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes mellitus. We found that TNF-α-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in the liver abolished the function of the transcription factor GAbp. Impaired hepatic GAbp function resulted in transcriptional inactivation of the cellular energy sensor AMPK, which in turn induced hepatic cholesterol secretion, hypercholesterolemia and eventually atherosclerotic lesion formation. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 10.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah Kattakuzhy, MD Clinical and Administrative Director, DC PFAP Hepatitis Clinical Research Program Assistant Professor, Institute of Human Virology Division of Infectious Diseases University of Maryland  Sarah Kattakuzhy, MD Clinical and Administrative Director, DC PFAP Hepatitis Clinical Research Program Assistant Professor, Institute of Human Virology Division of Infectious Diseases University of Maryland   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The recent introduction of highly effective, well-tolerated direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C virus infection has raised the possibility of rapid treatment expansion and widespread cure. However, the current specialist workforce is insufficient to meet the treatment demands of the 2.7 million Americans living with HCV infection. Several studies of partial task shifting—shared treatment between specialists and primary care providers—have demonstrated success in improving access to HCV care. Yet, information on the success of nonspecialists practicing independent of specialist supervision is limited. The primary objective of ASCEND was to evaluate the efficacy of Hepatitis C treatment managed independently by 3 community-based provider types—nurse practitioners (NPs), PCPs, and specialists—after a succinct, guideline-driven educational intervention, set within a real-world, urban population. In this investigation, 516 out of 600 patients achieved SVR, a response rate of 86% (95% CI, 83.0% to 88.7%), with no major safety signals. Rates of SVR were consistent across the 3 provider types—NPs: 89.3% (CI, 83.3% to 93.8%); PCPs: 86.9% (CI, 80.6% to 91.7%); and specialists: 83.8% (CI, 79.0% to 87.8%). Patient loss to follow-up was the major cause of non-SVR. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 12.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Strategic Director, Cancer Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States, accounting for nearly 29,000 deaths per year, with variations in occurrence by race/ethnicity and state. We examined trends in liver cancer incidence, survival, and mortality in the United States and provided liver cancer mortality rates by race/ethnicity at the national and state level. State-level statistics are particularly important as they can inform state cancer control and prevention planning. We also provided detailed information on prevalence and trends in major risk factors for liver cancer and interventions to prevent or reduce their burden, to make our article a comprehensive yet concise source of information on liver cancer statistics, risk factors, and interventions in the United States. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Stroke / 05.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Neal S. Parikh, M.D. Administrative Chief Resident Department of Neurology Weill Cornell Medicine & NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In contrast to the gastrointestinal and systemic hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications of cirrhosis, little was known about the risk of cerebrovascular complications. In this analysis of Medicare beneficiaries' claims data, we found cirrhosis to be associated with stroke, with associations appearing to be stronger for hemorrhagic stroke than for ischemic stroke. We controlled for demographic variables and stroke risk factors and relevant comorbidities, and our results were essentially unchanged in multiple sensitivity analyses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Kidney Disease, Lancet, Merck / 01.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant Associate Professor Karolinska Institute Dept of Renal Medicine, M99 Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease(CKD), hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can accelerate the decline in kidney function, impair health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and decrease survival chances of both patients and grafts in transplantation recipients. In this study additional data from patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease undergoing treatment for HCV infection in the C-SURFER study, including HRQOL and resistance analyses was presented not previously reported for this patient population with gwnotype 1 infection. The final virological analysis of this study indicated a high cure rate with sustained virological response at 12 weeks after the end of treatment (SVR12) in more than 98% of all treated patients. Even in patients with resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) the SVR was high in 11 (84·6%) of 13 patients genotype 1a infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, NEJM / 31.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Marc Bourlière Professeur Associé CHP (Associate Professor PHC) Chef de service (Head of Department) Hôpital Saint Joseph Hépato-Gastroentérologie MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The majority of HCV patients can be cured with combinations of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs); however, there is still 5 to 10% of patients who relapse after treatment with DAAs for whom there are currently no approved therapeutic options available. In these two international phase 3 studies, we have demonstrated that a single tablet triple regimen combining sofosbuvir, velpastasvir and voxilaprevir (a pangenotypic protease inhibitor) for 12 weeks cured 96% of the patients who had relapsed following prior treatment with DAA regimens including NS5A inhibitors and 98% of the patients who had relapsed following prior treatment with DAA regimens without an NS5A inhibitor. These two studies demonstrate that a pangenotypic retreatment option for this patient population could be soon available. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 10.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Winston Dunn, MD Assistant Professor The University of Kansas Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is widely believed that everyone with HCV can be cured with the medications now a day. But sadly, about 5% of the patients already have very bad damage done to the liver. We call this decompensated cirrhosis. Our medication is still very effective in curing the virus, but in decompensated cirrhosis, curing the virus is not always enough. Only about half to two-thirds of patients with decompensated cirrhosis clinically gets better, but the remaining struggles along or even gets worse after the cure. That is the problem. So, our research was to understand why that was. We used genetic factor to predict which patient would get better and which patient would not. We found that a gene previous found to be predictive of fatty liver and fibrosis is also predictive of recovery in this setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Lancet, Merck / 25.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Grebely PhD Associate Professor Senior Research Fellow (UNSW) Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Globally, testing and diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection remain low. Although point of care tests for HCV infection exist, but many of these tests only measure HCV antibodies (previous exposure), not HCV RNA (active infection). Given that 25% of individuals spontaneously clear HCV infection, efforts to enhance diagnosis of chronic HCV infection and improve the HCV care cascade requires enhanced uptake of HCV RNA testing. We conducted the first evaluation of the Xpert HCV Viral Load test (manufactured by Cepheid) - a point-of-care hepatitis C virus test that can detect active infection - from a finger-stick sample of blood. We established that there is good sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert HCV Viral Load point-of-care test using blood samples collected by finger-stick in participants attending drug health and homelessness services in Australia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Transplantation / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D. Virginia Commonwealth University Associate Professor Department of Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hepatic encephalopathy is a devastating complication of cirrhosis, which often recurs despite standard of care therapy with lactulose and rifaximin. This has a basis in an altered gut milieu therefore we need to change that in a more meaningful way to help patients. This was an FDA-monitored Phase I safety study of Fecal microbiome transfer (FMT) using a rationally-derived donor compared to standard of care. We found that FMT was safe and was associated with lower all-cause and hepatic encephalopathy-related hospitalizations over 5 months compared to standard of care. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Nutrition / 21.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leyuan Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Center for Translational Cancer Research Institute of Biosciences and Technology Texas A&M University Houston, Texas 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research team has been working on the question why people develop cancers and how we can prevent or cure them. In contrast to public views, we concluded from our studies that cancers, similar to our age-related diseases, originate from inefficiencies of our body to clean up cellular wastes accumulated during our lifespan. The most important pathway to clean up those wastes is called autophagy, or cellular self-eating behavior. We study how autophagy is regulated, how autophagy causes cancers, and whether we can control autophagy to prevent or cure cancers. Previously we found autophagy is regulated by a protein called MAP1S and mice without MAP1S are more likely to develop liver cancer. We have been seeking ways to improve MAP1S-mediated autophagy to prevent liver cancer. Our current study show that spermidine, a natural component existing in many foods, can increase the stability of MAP1S proteins and activate MAP1S-mediated autophagy. Concurrent with the benefits of expand mouse lifespans ours also reported, spermidine can suppress the development of liver fibrosis and liver cancer specifically through MAP1S if we add spermidine into the daily drinking water of mice. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sara Torrecilla Recio PhD Student Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Program - Division of Liver Diseases Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer, which represents the second-leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. The landscape of molecular alterations in HCC has been thoroughly explored using next-generation sequencing technologies in single biopsies of tumors. However, in the recent years it has been demonstrated that not all the regions of a tumor harbor the same molecular alterations. This intra-tumor heterogeneity may lead to a misinterpretation of the molecular landscape of the malignancy since not all the molecular alterations would be captured by single-biopsies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 14.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua Barocas, MD Clinical and Research Fellow Division of Infectious Diseases Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program began treating HCV-infected individuals with the new oral medications. Based on clinical experience and previous experience with medication adherence in the setting of HIV, there were no clinical reasons that homeless persons should be excluded. As a result, we began to track the experience of treated individuals including cure, side effects, and adherence. We found that in the initial group of treated individuals, 62 of 64 persons achieved SVR. There were minimal side effects and adherence was excellent (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 14.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stacey Fedewa, Ph.D. Strategic Director, Risk Factors & Screening Surveillance American Cancer Society Atlanta GA 30303-1002 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About 3.5 million people in the US are chronically infected with Hepatitis C, the majority are unaware of their infection despite the availability of treatments that may reduce the risk of HCV-related diseases such as liver cancer. About 80% of those with the infection are baby-boomers (people born between 1945-1965). To help reduce growing burden of these HCV-associated diseases, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended one-time HCV testing for baby-boomers in 2013. We examined nationwide data between 2013-2015 to see if HCV testing in baby-boomers has increased since the USPSTF recommendation.  We found that only about 14% of baby-boomers had ever been tested in 2015, which represented a very small increase from 2013 where testing prevalence was about 12%. In 2015, we estimated that there were about 76.2 million baby boomers and only 10.5 reported ever receiving HCV testing. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl Isenhour, DVM, MPH Epidemiologist |Prevention Branch Division of Viral Hepatitis | NCHHSTP Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is estimated that there are over 3 million people in the United States living with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Risk factors for infection include, but are not limited to, injection drug use, history of incarceration, HIV coinfection, and blood transfusion prior to July 1992. Several direct acting antiviral medications have recently been approved to treat, and in the majority of cases, cure HCV. The first step in identifying infected persons so that they may be cured of this infection is a blood test for antibodies to HCV. The greatest burden of HCV is among persons born from 1945 through 1965; the baby boomer birth cohort. Therefore, in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated HCV antibody testing recommendations to include one-time testing of persons in the birth cohort. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published similar recommendations the following year. Additionally, in recent years there has been an increase in HCV infections related to injection drug use among younger people. We used commercial insurance claims data to describe trends in HCV antibody testing over a 10-year period (2005 – 2014), both to assess the impact of the CDC and USPSTF testing recommendations, and to better understanding how trends varied by gender, age group, and geography. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 05.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paul Y. Kwo, MD, FACG Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This guideline, which was jointly authored by Drs. Kwo, Cohen, and Lim provides a framework for physicians to approach the very common problem encountered of a patient whose liver chemistries are abnormal. This is particularly relevant as there remain large pools of individuals who have yet to be diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, advanced liver disease as well as less common conditions, all of whom will require evaluation. In particular, the rise in the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease worldwide will be addressed in part by identifying and evaluating these individuals prior to the development of advanced fibrosis. The guideline takes clinicians through a step-wise approach to the evaluation of elevated aminotransferase (ALT and AST), alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin levels including appropriate historical questions, important physical examination findings, laboratory , radiological evaluation and finally liver biopsy if required. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Duke, Heart Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Pharmacology / 04.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew J. Crowley, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute Duke University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although metformin is widely considered to be the first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, concerns about lactic acidosis have traditionally limited its use in some populations. However, FDA now indicates that metformin may be used safely for patients with mild-moderate chronic kidney disease and other historical contraindications like congestive heart failure. With the lactic acidosis question addressed for these groups, this review asked “what do we know about how metformin affects mortality and other outcomes for patients with historical contraindications and precautions?” The main take-home message is that metformin appears associated with lower mortality in patients with mild-moderate chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic liver disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Technology / 01.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. David A. Weitz Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Harvard University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this technology study? What are the main findings? Response: Currently, it is very time-consuming and expensive to develop new drugs. One reason is that many drugs fail in clinical trials after animal studies, simply because animals are very different from humans. One promising means of solving this problem is to replace animal experiments with artificial human tissues that can be used to directly screen a drug. However, it is a challenge to construct artificial human tissues, as almost all human tissues are composed of multiple types of cells and extracellular matrices in 3D structures. In our studies, we have successfully developed a droplet-based microfluidic technique to fabricate large numbers of monodisperse, portable microtissues. We spatially assemble different types of cells in a 3D core-shell structure and construct an artificial human microtissue in each individual drop. The specific structures we create in the microdoplets are designed to mimic the behavior of the liver, and hence we call these structures a ‘liver in a drop.’  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Lancet / 27.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Naveed Zafar Janjua, MBBS, MSc, DrPH Senior Scientist, Clinical Prevention Services BC Centre for Disease Control Clinical Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health University of British Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. About quarter of people infected with hepatitis C clear their infection spontaneously rest develop chronic infection. Left untreated, hepatitis C could results in scarring of liver (liver cirrhosis), liver cancer or death. New anti-viral drugs are highly effective in curing hepatitis C, about than 95 per cent of those treated can be cured. However, people who engage in high risk activities such as people who inject drugs (PWID) remain at risk of reinfection. As the cost of treatment is very high, re-infection is a concern among physicians and policy makers in Canada and around the world. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, UCSF / 16.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Wong MD, MS Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Director of Research and Education Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Alameda Health System - Highland Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hepatitis B Virus infection is a leading cause of chronic liver disease leading to hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis worldwide. Early detection of chronic HBV through implementation of effective screening programs can improve early treatment to reduce disease progression and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Sub-optimal awareness of the importance of HBV screening among patients and providers and sub-optimal awareness of who constitutes as high risk may further contribute to low HBV screening rates. Our current study prospectively evaluated rates of HBV screening and awareness of HBV screening results among patients at high risk for chronic HBV among an ethnically diverse underserved safety-net hospital population. Among nearly 900 patients that were evaluated, 62% were high risk and eligible for Hepatitis B screening. However, among this high risk population, less than 25% received HBV screening. Furthermore, among patients that have undergone previous HBV testing only 22% of patients were aware of those results. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA, Neurological Disorders / 08.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip Van Damme, MD, PhD Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology KU Leuven University of Leuven VIB, Vesalius Research Center, Leuven, Belgium Philip Van Damme, MD, PhD Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology KU Leuven University of Leuven VIB, Vesalius Research Center, Leuven, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been discovered more that 60 years ago. Its clinical manifestations are usually self-limiting and mild. More recently, several immune-mediated neurological complications of this virus have been described, such as the Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and neuralgic amyotrophy. In this study, we investigated the frequency of a preceding HEV infection in patients presenting with a GBS syndrome or one of its less common disease variants. At the same time, we tested for other known pathogens known to be associated with GBS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Weight Research / 15.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annette Schürmann PhD Department of Experimental Diabetology German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) Nuthetal Germany German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD München-Neuherberg Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The aim of our study was to clarify why genetically identical mice respond very different to a high fat diet. Some of the mice react with an elevated body weight, others not. We analyzed the expression pattern of liver at two time points, at the age of 6 weeks, (the earlierst time point to distiguish between those that respond to the diet (responder mice) and those that did not (non-responders)), and at the age of 20 weeks. One transcript that was significantly reduced in the liver of responder mice at both time points was Igfbp2. The reason for the reduced expression was an elevated DNA-methylation at a position that is conserved in the mouse and human sequence. The elevated DNA-methylation of this specifc site in human was recently described to associate with elevated fat storage (hepatosteatosis) and NASH. However, as 6 weeks old mice did not show differences in liver fat content between responder and non-responder mice we conclude that the alteration of Igfbp2 expression and DNA metyhlation occurs before the development of fatty liver. Our data furthermore showed that the epigenetic inhibition of Igfbp2 expression was associated with elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance but not with fatty liver. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, NEJM / 17.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. F. Nevens, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine Hepatology and liver transplantation University Hospitals KU Leuven, Belgium Prof. Dr. F. Nevens, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine Hepatology and liver transplantation University Hospitals KU Leuven, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare, autoimmune cholestatic liver disease that puts patients at risk for life-threatening complications. PBC is primarily a disease of women, affecting approximately one in 1,000 women over the age of 40. If left untreated, survival of PBC patients is significantly worse than the general population. The POISE trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of once-daily treatment with Ocaliva® (obeticholic acid) in PBC patients with an inadequate therapeutic response to, or who are unable to tolerate, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), the current standard of care. Ocaliva is the first PBC therapy that targets the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a key regulator of bile acid, inflammatory, fibrotic and metabolic pathways. The trial’s primary endpoint was an alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level of less than 1.67 times the upper limit of the normal range, with a reduction of at least 15% from baseline, and a total bilirubin level at or below the upper limit of the normal range after 12 months of obeticholic acid therapy. These liver biomarkers have been shown to predict progression to liver failure and resulting liver transplant or premature death in patients with PBC. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Pharmacology / 22.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth Cusi, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E. Professor of Medicine VAMC staff Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism The University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32610-0226 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cusi: Many patients with prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) are not diagnosed with Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease that is the second cause of liver transplantation in the United States. It is also associated with worse cardiovascular disease and harder to control T2DM. We had done in this population a proof-of-concept study published in Nov 2006 in the NEJM. But we lacked a larger, long-term study for definitive proof. This is the largest SINGLE center study, and the longest ever (3 years). NASH is an overlooked problem for perhaps as many as one-third of patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. There is now a safe and effective treatment option for patients with T2DM and NASH – pioglitazone will become for NASH what metformin is to the treatment of T2DM: a safe, effective, the “backbone therapy" to which other treatments will be added. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 20.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: J. Morgan Freiman, MD Infectious disease research fellow Boston Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Freiman:  There are 130-150 million persons infected with chronic HCV with 75% of all cases occurring in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Diagnosis is a 2-step process that starts with screening for exposure with an assay that detects antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV), followed by nucleic acid testing (NAT) for persons with reactive anti-HCV to measure HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) and confirm active viremia. In LMICs diagnostic capacity is low, and fewer than 1% of patients are aware of their infection. Additionally, a significant proportion of patients who test positive for anti-HCV are lost to follow-up before nucleic acid testing. The 2-step diagnostic process is thus a major bottleneck to the HCV cascade of care. Testing for hepatitis C virus core antigen (HCVcAg) is a potential replacement for NAT. Our systematic review evaluated the accuracy of diagnosis of active HCV infection among adults and children for 5 commercially available HCVcAg tests compared with NAT. We found that HCVcAg assays with signal amplification have high sensitivity, high specificity, and have the potential to replace NAT in settings with high HCV prevalence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 24.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sikarin Upala MD, MS, LLB Internal Medicine, Bassett Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Cooperstown, New York Preventive and Social Medicine Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Upala: Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis as well as the most common cause of liver transplantation in the United States. As caffeine has been found to be related to decreased liver enzymes, chronic liver disease,cirrhosis, and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in several liver disease pathologies. There is inconclusive findings on the effect of caffeine on hepatitis C infected patients. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the effect of caffeine consumption in patients with chronic hepatitis C. We found that caffeine consumers have a 61% reduced risk of developing advanced hepatic fibrosis, which is one of the consequence of chronic hepatitis C. Our meta-analysis result is in the same way with other studies who found that coffee consumption could prevent the development of hepatic fibrosis in patients with liver disease. However, we cannot conclude about the effect of caffeine on HCV viral load as there is not enough information. (more…)