Hepatitis Drug Passes First Trial Step

CARDIFF, Wales, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Researchers say they’ve completed the first trials of a drug to treat infections caused by the Hepatitis C virus that affects 170 million people worldwide.

Completion of this first phase for INX-189, a drug discovered and prepared by researchers at Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Pharmacy in 2008, significantly improves the chances of the drug becoming an approved medicine, a university release said.

Hepatitis C, which can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis and death, is the leading cause of liver transplantation in Western countries.

The current treatment involves two drugs — ribavirin and interferon — that have to be given as an injection and have severe side effects that often lead to patients failing to complete treatment.

The first clinical trial is an important first step, Cardiff researchers said.

“This is still a very early stage of the trials process but nonetheless a significant development,” Professor Chris McGuigan said.

“Successfully completing phase 1a demonstrates that the drug is safe, with no drug-related side effects at all in a single dose of 100mg.

“We believe that INX-189 offers the possibility of more potency against Hepatitis, more rapid action in the liver, and fewer side effects than existing treatments,” McGuigan said.

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