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Hepatitis C Grant Targets A Killer In Bexar County

Wendy Rigby
Texas Public Radio
University Health System will use part of its new grant money to test more Bexar County residents for hepatitis C.

San Antonio’s University Health System has been awarded more than a million dollars to fight hepatitis C. The target of the new funding is liver cancer.

Hepatitis C is a stealthy killer. Researchers at University Health System have gathered information about the liver disease that shows Bexar County residents born between 1945 and 1965 have more than twice the rate of hepatitis C infection than the nation as a whole.


"The grant is screening baby boomers to identify Hepatitis C which is responsible for development of liver cancer," explained Anna Taranova, MD, Executive Research Director of University Health System.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is granting 1.24 million dollars to University. Besides screening, the money will also be used to educate patients and providers with an emphasis on eliminating cultural barriers to care. Hispanics are at higher risk of hepatitis C and Teranova says that population will be a target of this effort.

"By screening and identifying the patients, we will be able to reduce the health disparities and prevent liver cancer," Teranova stated.

CPRIT awarded 14 grants were around Texas this week. This is the only one granted to a San Antonio organization.

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.