Test to determine best Hepatitis C treatment

French scientists have identified biomarkers that predict responses to Hepatitis C therapy and expect to commercialize a prognostic test sometime this year, according to a release. Researchers at Inserm and Institut Pasteur, writing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, say they have demonstrated that the plasma levels of the protein IP-10 predict the efficacy of treatment with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin.

The researchers say a new test will help inform physicians of the chances that patients will respond to standard treatment or if instead they will require new therapeutic cocktails such as protease inhibitors.

For the past 10 years, treatment has been based on the use of type I interferon given in combination with the antiviral ribavirin. This cures only 50 percent of Hepatitis patients while treatment lasts a long time (24-48 weeks) and it results in severe side effects like depression and anemia. The researchers identified the protein IP-10 as a prognostic biomarker--elevated in those patients for whom treatment was ineffective.

- read more in the release