WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have
pinpointed two gene variants that protect hepatitis C patients from
anemia caused by antiviral treatment.
The findings are detailed in two studies that appear online and
in the February print issue of the journal
The ability to identify patients with the two variants in the
inosine triphosphatase (ITPA) gene will help ensure that antiviral
therapy is completed and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is eliminated,
the researchers say in a news release from the journal's
Up to 170 million people worldwide have chronic HCV infection,
which is a leading cause of end-stage liver disease. HCV is curable
with the antiviral drugs pegylated interferon and ribavirin, but
these medications cause anemia in many patients.
In one study, Italian researchers looked at 238 HCV patients
treated with the antiviral drugs and found that the two ITPA
variants were strongly associated with protection from anemia.
Japanese scientists found similar results in their study of 61
patients with HCV.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about