Hepatitis C is the most common indication for liver transplantation, yet it recurs in almost all patients after transplantation and cannot be successfully treated, even with alpha-interferon. A preliminary study of 20 liver transplant recipients who were treated with a combination of ribavirin and interferon for a year following their transplants suggests this drug regimen can be effective in eradicating the virus and be safely tolerated by patients. Thirteen patients completed the one-year treatment study conducted at the UPMC. Four patients did not respond to therapy as measured by detectable active virus in their blood. But in nine patients evidence of the virus disappeared, at least for the duration of the therapy, Dr. Dodson will report Saturday, Nov. 7. Five patients relapsed within one month of completing the one-year study, but four remained free of the virus three to five months after stopping the drug treatment. Dr. Dodson suggests earlier treatment, before significant liver damage has occurred, may be more effective.
CONTACT: Lisa Rossi 412-647-3555
The scientific meeting will also include a day-long series of debates on "Clinical and Administrative Controversies in Liver and Pancreas Transplantation" scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7. The UPMC, which has strongly advocated for changes in the organ allocation system, will participate in two of three debates on this subject.