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International hepatitis C study examines new approaches to treatment

A new study seeks to answer one of the most challenging and important questions in hepatitis C therapy today: What is the best option for patients in whom one of the most widely prescribed treatments has failed? The study will evaluate different regimens of combination therapy in patients with hepatitis C who failed to generate a sustained virological response after treatment with Peg-Intron/Rebetol therapy. Patients in the new study will receive Pegasys® (peginterferon alfa-2a) and Copegus (ribavirin), already approved as a first-line treatment for patients with hepatitis C.

The REPEAT Trial (REtreatment with PEgasys in PATients Not Responding to Peg-Intron Therapy) is led in the U.S. by hepatologist Dr. Donald Jensen of Rush University Medical Center. The US portion of the study will enroll approximately 330 patients at 33 centers including Rush.

Hepatitis C, a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver, is transmitted through body fluids, primarily blood or blood products, and by sharing needles. Hepatitis C chronically infects an estimated 2.7 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the number one reason for liver transplants in the U.S.

"Although we have seen significant improvements in hepatitis C therapy over the past few years, many patients still do not respond to treatment on their first attempt," said Dr. Donald Jensen, director of Hepatology at Rush University Medical Center and lead U.S. investigator in the REPEAT trial. "We hope that this trial will provide patients a proven option with another pegylated interferon if Peg-Intron combination therapy failed to work for them."

The REPEAT Trial is an international study enrolling approximately 888 patients at 98 centers in 14 countries worldwide. Approximately 330 patients will be enrolled at the 33 participating centers in the United States. In order to be eligible for th
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Contact: John M. Pontarelli
jpontare@rush.edu
312-942-5949
Rush University Medical Center
23-Apr-2004


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