Direct acting antivirals in Hepatitis C: developing a personalised model of care

Hepatitis C virus infection, which affects 170 million people worldwide, is a major global health problem, and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, liver cancer and cirrhosis. The current treatment options for Hepatitis C infection fail to clear the virus in about 50% of patients. Two new antiviral drugs have just been licensed which eradicate the virus in 70-80% of patients. However, these drugs are expensive, have numerous side effects, and still require treatment for up to a year. Furthermore, the virus does not respond to treatment in 20-30% of cases. Our research will investigate how the differences in drug concentrations and metabolism between individuals will affect their response to treatment. With this information, we will make recommendations on how to optimise the use and benefits of these drugs in our patients. This research will also help us identify patients that will not benefit from these new drugs at an early stage, and develop new guidelines for the optimal use of these drugs as advised in the Health Service Executive's 'National Hepatitis C Strategy 2011-14'. We also plan to investigate the interaction of these drugs with the immune system of patients undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C. This will allow us to better understand the mechanism of action of these drugs, and how the virus manages to overcome the immune response and these new treatments.

Award Date
25 April 2013
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Omar El-Sherif
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Research Training Fellowships for Health Professionals