Hepatitis C drug trial nears completion

01 February 2013

QEHB researchers are on the verge of finishing recruitment of patients for a trial of a drug which could prevent hepatitis C from invading liver cells.

The drug, called ITX-5061, is made by San Diego-based pharmaceutical company iTherX. Pre-clinical trials were encouraging and the trial at QEHB was the world’s first trial of the drug in human liver transplant patients.

The research team, led by Prof David Mutimer, originally aimed to recruit a total of 20 patients to the study in two groups of 10 each. The first group was recruited to provide a baseline for the study, and did not receive the drug. The second group did receive the drug.

Kathy Guo, the research nurse involved in the study, says a decision was then made to increase the baseline group to 13 and an extra patient was also recruited to the second group. The team now needs to recruit just one more patient for this group.

The study was managed at QEHB by Dr Ian Rowe, and the research team will now carry out an analysis of the data before a decision is made about further trials.

“Recruitment did go well, which was really encouraging because this is a trial which we hope will lead to a new treatment,” she says.

“We haven’t had all the results yet, so we have to wait and see how the drug did.”

The trial is funded through an educational grant from iTherX with the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Unit.