Aggressively treating transplant candidates for the hepatitis C virus before they receive a new liver may help them avoid a reoccurrence of the disease and increase their chances of survival afterwards.
As reported in the September issue of Liver Transplantation, researchers at the Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago treated 20 patients with a high-dose of interferon alpha-2b daily in an effort to clear the virus before transplantation.
Twelve or 60 percent achieved clearance of hepatitis C virus before their transplants. Four of the 12 patients in whom the virus cleared did not have evidence of hepatitis C virus recurrence after their transplants.
"These data suggest that with careful supervision, cirrhotic patients can tolerate high-dose interferon," concluded the researchers. "In addition, a viral clearance can be achieved in a significant number of cirrhotic patients with high-dose interferon."
Other sources: Liver Transplantation 2003 Sep;9(9):905-15