News from Hepatitis Week of Sept. 28, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 39
Study: Thymosin Helps Reduce Relapse Rate for Certain Hepatitis B Patients


The combination therapy of interferon alpha-2b and thymosin alpha-1 results in a better sustained response in patients with HBe antigen-negative chronic hepatitis B, according to researchers.

About four in five hepatitis B patients with this variant of the disease relapse after treatment with current therapies, according to the report in the September issue of Medical Science Monitor.

Lead researcher Dr. Murat Sarus of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and his colleagues compared the response rates of the combined therapy of thymosin alpha-1 and interferon alpha-2b with interferon alpha-2b alone and in combination with lamivudine.

Sarus and his team found that 74 percent of those taking interferon alpha-2b and thymosin alpha-1 had a sustained response after six months of treatment. Only 40 percent of those taking interferon alpha-2b alone and 53 percent of those taking interferon alpha-2b with lamivudine had a sustained response after six months.

The researchers also found thymosin alpha-1 to be relatively free from adverse effects.

"Future controlled trials are needed with a larger follow-up in order to fully evaluate the role of the combined therapy of thymosin alpha-1 with other emerging therapeutic agents," concluded Sarus and his colleagues.

Other sources: Medical Science Monitor (2003; 9(8): 198-202)