Friday, March 2, 2018

News Recap:

Shifting from concern to crisis: 1 in 4 Canadians may be affected by liver disease. Recent indicators gathered by the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) show that an increased prevalence of liver diseases including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chronic hepatitis B & C, and liver cancer are why in just ten years, the statistic that was once 1 in 10, is now 1 in 4.

Ontario Expands Patient Access to Chronic Hepatitis C Therapies On Public Drug Plan. Well, it’s definitely a done deal in Ontario!! Ontario’s Ministry of Health has expanded access to curative hepatitis C therapies to all diagnosed patients, regardless of severity of illness.

USA: The VA Will Eliminate Hepatitis C In Veterans By Year-End.
The VA announced that it was on track to eliminate hepatitis C infections in the next 12 months for those who are willing and able to be treated. In October 2014, the VA had over 146,000 veterans afflicted with hepatitis C. By next October, this number will be only 20,000.

Ireland: Six in 10 people infected with hepatitis C undiagnosed. Six in 10 people infected with the hepatitis C virus in the Republic remain undiagnosed, a major conference has heard. The conference, entitled Hidden Disease: The Future of Hepatitis C treatment in the Community and Primary Care in Ireland and hosted by Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), took place in Dublin on Saturday. There were calls by experts for the role of GPs to be enhanced to enable greater diagnosing of the virus.

Liver Cancer:
Alpha Fetoprotein Testing May Detect Liver Cancer Sooner. Researchers from the UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center have conducted a study saying that ultrasound imaging when used in combination with blood testing for alpha fetoprotein could help to improve the detection of early stage liver cancer by 40%, as published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Large Study Confirms DAAs Protect Against HCC When SVR Achieved. Patients with hepatitis C who are successfully treated with direct-acting antiviral agents experience a dramatic reduction in their risk for liver cancer, new data show. However, the decrease is much lower for those diagnosed with cirrhosis before starting a DAA. The risk for liver cancer after a sustained virologic response (SVR) is achieved is still above zero. As a result, the new data point to the need for cancer surveillance in at least some patients.

DAA therapy improves HCV-related liver transplantation outcomes. The high efficacy of direct-acting antivirals correlated with significant improvement in survival of patients who underwent liver transplantation for hepatitis C-related liver disease, according to a recently published study.

Hepatitis B:
Chronic Hepatitis B: Serum ALT Cutoff Value Predictive of Liver-Related Mortality. In patients with chronic hepatitis B, serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels are positively correlated with liver-related mortality, according to study results published in Liver International. The researchers recommend that patients age >40 with serum ALT levels above the upper limit of normal should be carefully monitored or started on antiviral therapy earlier.