Friday, April 21, 2017

News Recap

Well the last report from the final leg of HepCBC’s Road Trip to BC’s Interior 2017 is in. What a journey!! – and so much work!! This report focusses on events in the Kootenay region of BC, and I’m really impressed at how much Rosemary and Cheryl were able to accomplish!  Amazing. Awareness of hepatitis C in BC’s more remote and small communities is growing and this is due to the hard work of the many advocates devoted to the cause.  Well done! Hepatitis C “Greyhound” Roadshow to Interior of BC, Part 3 of 3 (March 17-25).

Some Thunder Bay, Ont. organizations treating hepatitis C patients say the province’s move to improve access to curative drugs for the disease could help stop its spread. “It’s an exciting time,” said Holly Gauvin, the executive director of Elevate NWO, a group that supports hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS patients. Thunder Bay has some of the highest hepatitis C infection rates in Ontario, according to public health officials. Until now, only patients with at least moderate liver damage could access the new, once-a-day drugs through government programs. In February, however, the provinces and the federal government reached a new, cost-saving deal with the companies that make the medications, improving their availability. Organizations hope better access to meds halts spread of hepatitis C.

ILC 2017
Lots of great news coming out of the International Liver Conference 2017 being held in Amsterdam this week.

HCV and Heart Disease: A large French study stressed the importance of thinking of hepatitis C as a systemic disease that affects the heart, the kidneys, blood vessels, the brain and glucose metabolism through mechanisms that are still to be fully understood. Hepatitis C infection increases the risk of cardiovascular disease – events such as heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease and heart failure – especially in older people and those with diabetes or high blood pressure. Hepatitis C may promote heart disease by causing metabolic problems, but may also do so by causing inflammation. This study found that curing HCV reduces cardiovascular risk. ILC 2017: Curing hepatitis C reduces cardiovascular risk.

Treatment Access Disparities: Did you know that there are considerable restrictions in the reimbursement of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy across European countries, particularly with respect to the severity of liver fibrosis (scarring of the liver) and prescribing by specialists. The study showed that there was evidence that some countries were not following the most recent European HCV treatment guidelines, published by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in 2016. ILC 2017: European countries restrict access to life-saving treatment for hepatitis C.

DAAs and HCC:  Great news – according to results of a meta-analysis reported at the 2017 International Liver Congress (ILC), patients were at no elevated risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) following treatment with direct-acting antiviral therapy (DAA) for hepatitis C compared to interferon therapy. The data reflected that there was no difference in liver cancer risk following cure with either therapy. Hepatitis C Patients at No Elevated Risk of Developing HCC Following DAA Compared to Interferon.

New Clinical Guidelines Released: The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) announced that four new Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) will be  presented at The International Liver Congress™ 2017 in Amsterdam, and published in the Journal of Hepatology, EASL’s official journal. There were no new guidelines on hepatitis C but there were for the management of hepatitis B. ILC 2017: Four new EASL clinical practice guidelines on the management of liver diseases presented at The International Liver Congress 2017.

Coming Up Next Week!

HepCBC will have an Info Booth at the following: