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Researchers find biomarker that predicts treatment outcomes for hepatitis C patients

Category: General Health

Following a positive hepatitis C test, there are several treatment options an individual can take. Now, a team of researchers has reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that they have found a biomarker that may predict the success of certain treatments.

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and one of the top contributing factors in liver cirrhosis and failure. Since medications only result in a cure in roughly 50 percent of those infected, knowing who will benefit the most is key.

For the study, researchers from the Institut Pasteur in France found that the protein IP-10 may predict whether or not a patient infected with hepatitis C will respond well to the common treatments pegylated-interferon and ribavirin. Higher levels of the protein predict poor treatment outcomes.

Researchers said that determining patients who stand to benefit the most from treatment could help reduce the burden of the disease. The World Health Organization has called the disease a "viral time bomb" due to the rate at which it spreads, the high percentage of failed treatment and the chronic nature of the illness.

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