NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Perlegen Sciences said today that it has begun a research collaboration with the SC Liver Research Consortium, a group of physicians and researchers from 50 research sites, with the goal of determining the genetic variations predicting response to hepatitis C treatment.
At the moment, the standard of care for hepatitis C involves treatment with interferon alpha and ribavirin, which cures about half of HCV patients. Nevertheless, these treatments are linked to serious side effects such as fatigue, depression, fever, and anemia, which dissuades many HCV patients from undergoing therapy.
On the other hand, hepatitis C itself can lead to other serious complications such as liver cirrhosis or scarring and hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer accounting for 80 percent to 90 percent of all liver cancer cases.
Perlegen and the SCLC researchers hope that by being able to more accurately identify patients who will respond well to interferon alpha and ribavirin treatment they will also be persuade these individuals to undergo the treatment, improving their outcomes.
“This is an exciting opportunity to combine the expertise of our consortium’s fifty research sites with Perlegen’s skills in genetic analysis,” SCLRC President Paul Pockros said in a statement. “The ability to help predict response to therapy could be a vital tool in our effort to cure hepatitis C in millions of patients infected with this virus.”