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TAG Pipeline Report Outlines Future of Hepatitis C Treatment

SUMMARY: New report from Treatment Action Group (TAG) details experimental hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies in development, including protease inhibitors boceprevir and telaprevir.

By Tracy Swan

The future of HCV treatment is almost here: in 2011, regulators in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are expected to review 2 hepatitis C protease inhibitors, Merck's boceprevir and Vertex's telaprevir. Both of these oral drugs can shorten treatment duration for some patients, and they will boost cure rates for treatment-naive and treatment experienced-patients with hard-to-treat HCV genotype 1.

But they are far from a magic bullet. Both drugs must be used in combination with the current standard of care -- pegylated interferon plus ribavirin -- and drug resistance may limit their effectiveness. Treatment algorithms are complicated, and involve consideration of patient and drug-specific characteristics.

Following advances in hepatitis C treatment can be difficult, given the overwhelming amount of information, complicated trial designs, and constantly changing terminology. More than 30 direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) are currently in clinical trials, along with immunomodulators -- drugs that target host rather than viral factors -- therapeutic vaccines, and new types and formulations of interferon. Novel treatment strategies, such as response-guided therapy, interferon-sparing regimens, and quadruple therapy are being explored.

Earlier this month, TAG published its latest Hepatitis C Treatment Pipeline Report. The Pipeline Report combines a comprehensive overview of new HCV treatments under development with detailed information about boceprevir and telaprevir.

The Pipeline Report also covers diagnostics, global and national perspectives on barriers to access, and treatment issues for African Americans and Latinos/Latinas, HIV/HCV coinfected people, prior non-responders and null responders, people with liver cirrhosis, current and former injection drug users, and liver transplant candidates and recipients, as well as recommendations for research and clinical care.

The new TAG report is available online at:

Tracy Swan, author of the Pipeline Report, is Hepatitis/HIV Project Director at TAG.


T Swan. Hepatitis C Treatment Pipeline Report. Treatment Action Group. March 2011.























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