Strides in identifying and improving screening practices and treatment for liver diseases

CHICAGO, IL (May 8, 2011) — Research being presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) shows that screening individuals for hepatitis C based on age instead of conventional risk factors may help increase detection rates as well as prevent liver disease. Additionally, the rate of vaccination against viral hepatitis in patients with chronic liver disease and type 2 diabetes is relatively low, and these patients are at increased risk of severe liver injury once infected. DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the field of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

“These studies suggest that innovative detection practices, as well as different methods of screening, can go a very long way in preventing liver-related diseases and can stave off premature death due to liver disease,” said Adrian Di Bisceglie, MD, chairman, department of internal medicine, Saint Louis University.

Low vaccination rates against hepatitis A and hepatitis B in patients with chronic liver disease and with type 2 diabetes: a study of the U.S. population (Abstract #Su1020)

Vaccination rates against severe hepatitis A (HAV) and B (HBV) are relatively low in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and type 2 diabetes (DM) who are at risk of severe liver injury if they become acutely infected with HAV or HBV, according to new research from the Inova Fairfax Hospital, therefore mechanisms should be put in place to help increase vaccination rates for this high risk population. Patients who suffer from chronic liver disease are already more prone to develop severe liver disease; when they are afflicted with additional liver trouble the injury is exacerbated and they can suffer liver failure, resulting in liver transplant or even death.

Dr. Younossi will present these data on Sunday, May 8 at 8:00 a.m. CT in Hall A, McCormick Place.

The impact of birth-cohort screening for hepatitis C virus compared with current risk-based screening on lifetime incidence of and mortality from advanced liver disease in the U.S. (Abstract #477)

Screening individuals for hepatitis C virus (HCV) based on age rather than risk factors could have significant implications for prevention of liver disease and premature death due to liver disease, according to new research led by Lisa McGarry, MPH, director of health economics and outcomes research at Innovus, part of Ingenix Life

Sciences, in Medford, MA. Between 3 and 4 million Americans are infected with HCV, and more than 2 million are in what investigators call the “Baby Boomer Plus” birth cohort (individuals born between 1945 and 1970). Investigators sought to study this population because current risk-based screening practices have had limited success; current estimates suggest less than 3% of infected individuals are screened each year.

Ms. Lisa McGarry will present these data on Sunday, May 8 at 2:15 p.m. CT in S106B, McCormick Place

Telaprevir-based Regimen in Genotype 1 Hepatitis C Virus-infected Patients with Prior Null Response, Partial Response or Relapse to Peg-interferon/Ribavirin: REALIZE Trial Final Results (Abstract #625r)

Treating hepatitis C with a drug regimen that adds the protease inhibitor telaprevir to the standard therapy of pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin is far more effective, both for patients who have not responded to usual therapy and those who relapsed after treatment, according to researchers at the Scripps Clinic. The findings in the international randomized, double-blind trial offer new hope to individuals with chronic hepatitis C. The study involved 662 patients with hepatitis C genotype 1, which is particularly difficult to treat.

Dr. Paul Pockros will present these data on Monday, May 9, at 8:30 a.m. CT in S105, McCormick Place and on Tuesday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. CT in S406B, McCormick Place.

Digestive Disease Week® 2011 (DDW®) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the AGA Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, DDW takes place May 7 — May 10, 2011 in Chicago, IL. The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology.

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