Computer simulation forecasts favorable trends in eradicating hepatitis C
Effective new drugs and screening would make hepatitis C a rare disease by 2036, according to a computer simulation conducted by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. The results of the simulation are reported in the August 5 edition of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
This is Jagpreet Chhatwal, Ph.D., University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Hepatitis C (HCV) is the leading cause of liver cancer and accounts for more than 15,000 deaths in the U.S. each year," said Jagpreet Chhatwal, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Services Research at MD Anderson, and corresponding author on the study.
"If we can improve access to treatment and incorporate more aggressive screening guidelines, we can reduce the number of chronic HCV cases, prevent more cases of liver cancer and reduce liver-related deaths," Chhatwal said.
HCV – a virus transmitted through the blood – is spread by sharing of needles, the use of contaminated medical equipment, and by tattoo and piercing equipment that has not been fully sterilized. Those at the highest risk for exposure are baby boomers – people born between 1945 and 1965. Widespread screening of the U.S. blood supply for hepatitis C began in 1992. A majority of people were infected through blood transfusions or organ transplants before 1992.
Baby boomers account for 75 percent of the estimated 2.7 to 3.9 million people infected in the United States. Half of people with the virus are not aware they are infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommend a one-time HCV screening for this population group.
In this study, Chhatwal and his collaborators used a mathematical model with information from several sources including more than 30 clinical trials to predict the impact of new therapies called "direct-acting antivirals" and the use of screening for chronic HCV cases.
Researchers developed a computer model to analyze and predict disease trends from 2001 to 2050. The model was validated with historical data including a recently published national survey on HCV prevalence. Researchers predicted with new screening guidelines and therapies, HCV will only affect one in 1,500 people in the U.S. by 2036.
The model predicts one-time HCV screening of baby boomers would help identify 487,000 cases over the next 10 years.
"Though impactful, the new screening guideline does not identity the large number of HCV patients who would progress to advanced disease stages without treatment and could die," Chhatwal said.
"Making hepatitis C a rare disease would be a tremendous, life-saving accomplishment," said lead author Mina Kabiri, a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "However, to do this, we will need improved access to care and increased treatment capacity, primarily in the form of primary care physicians who can manage the care of infected people identified through increased screening."
In this study, researchers predicted a one-time universal screening could identify 933,700 HCV cases. Chhatwal and his colleagues also predict the universal screening and timely treatment can make HCV a rare disease in the next 12 years. Such screening can further prevent:
Chhatwal, whose current research focuses on evaluations of cancer prevention strategies using quantitative methods, says the availability of highly effective therapies and screening updates provide a great opportunity to tackle the hepatitis C epidemic. "But we need to ensure that we provide timely and affordable access to treatment to achieve the potential benefits."
"The new treatment that costs $1,000 a day has been a subject of debate and can become a barrier to timely access to all patients," Chhatwal said.
"Although recent screening recommendations are helpful in decreasing the chronic HCV infection rates, more aggressive screening recommendations and ongoing therapeutic advances are essential to reducing the burden, preventing liver-related deaths and eventually eradicating HCV," Chhatwal said.
The National Institutes of Health (KL2TR000146) funded this research.
Other researchers contributing to this study include Mark Roberts, M.D. of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health; Alison Jazwinski, M.D. of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Andrew Schaefer, Ph.D. of University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.
Katrina Burton | Eurek Alert!
Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University
Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy