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Cure For Hepatitis C Could Eradicate Disease In 15 Years

Eileen Pace
TPR News
Dr. Fred Poordad, lead author on a study that found a cure for Hepatitis C, works in his office at the Texas Liver Institute April 16, 2014.

A San Antonio researcher has announced that he has found a cure for Hepatitis C.

In the first-of-its-kind study dedicated to patients with Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver, Dr. Fred Poordad announced to the International Liver Congress in London over the weekend a new medicine that eradicated the Hepatitic C virus in more than 90 percent of patients studied. 

Poordad is a professor of medicine at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine and vice president of the Texas Liver Institute and the lead author of the study. 

"This population of 380 patients in this study called The Turquoise 2 Trial all had cirrhosis of the liver. So they were very advanced," he said. 

Poordad said the only drug available until now has been Interferon, which is too dangerous to use on advanced Hepatitis C patients.

"Interferon has more side effects, probably, than any other drug that we know: side effects such as nausea, headache, diarrhea, profound weakness. It can even cause depression, loss of cognition," he said.

This study was the only one designed for patients with advanced liver disease, and almost all were cured, and it worked fast.

"This therapy is 12 weeks of just pills," Poordad said.

Poordad said two percent of the study patients experienced significant side effects with the new drug, which is a cocktail of four other drugs. It was tested in 78 sites across the U.S., Europe and Canada.

Several drug company representatives also presented at the London conference, suggesting demand will be high and the drug may be expensive. Poordad said the drug could be on the market by early 2015.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.