Hope and Healing

New treatment options for hepatitis C.UPMC is leading the way with new treatment options for hepatitis C.

Decades after receiving a childhood blood transfusion, Chris Sosinski was shocked to learn he had the hepatitis C virus, which had led to cirrhosis and the prospect of a liver transplant.

Today, Chris remains hepatitis C negative, thanks to a new direct-acting antiviral therapy he received at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases last year. Months after ending treatment in October, his viral load remains at zero.

“That means it’s gone,” says Chris, 49, of Jeannette. “No more medicine and — if I take care of myself — no transplant.”

Baby Boomers Beware

Chris is one of a growing number of baby boomers diagnosed with hepatitis C, a problem so serious that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the virus. The CDC estimates that more than 75 percent of the nation’s 3 million adults currently living with hepatitis C are baby boomers — and most don’t know they’re infected.

“Hepatitis C is a silent disease; most people have no symptoms,” says Kapil Chopra, MD, director, UPMC Center for Liver Diseases. “But if diagnosed early, it can be cured or managed successfully before it can develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer.”

A New Era of Treatment

Thankfully for Chris and other hepatitis C patients, two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 ushered in a new era of treatment, delivering improved cure rates and shorter treatment time for the most prevalent — and hardest to treat — strain of the virus. Playing a critical role was the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases, where specialists have been at the forefront in the evaluation and clinical trials of promising new therapies.

Hundreds of UPMC patients took part in groundbreaking clinical trials for those new drugs. (See our Clinical Trials Can Change Lives article to learn about other clinical trials.) Today, even more are participating in clinical trials of new therapies at UPMC with the potential for even better results in fighting chronic hepatitis C infections.

“These are exciting times. Over the next few years, we expect to have several new options that will eradicate the hepatitis C virus in most patients without side effects,” says Dr. Chopra. “It’s a new era of treatment and hope for our patients.”

A Leading Resource for Complex Care

Treating and managing hepatitis C can be complex for both patients and health care providers. In the tri-state area, UPMC is the leading provider of comprehensive and advanced specialty care for patients with the virus.

“Our multidisciplinary specialists are involved in researching and evaluating new treatments. They bring a unique perspective for managing these complex therapies,” explains Dr. Chopra.

These specialists work together to assess patients, select appropriate antiviral therapies, educate patients, monitor for adverse effects and drug interactions, and provide support for patients and family members. “They are familiar with the latest, cutting-edge therapies and developing new ones,” adds Dr. Chopra.

For those patients who don’t respond to treatment and are experiencing liver failure, the program also provides seamless transition to UPMC’s internationally renowned transplant program.

For more information about treatments for hepatitis C, contact the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases at 1-800-447-1651.

Additional Clinical Trial Information

To view a complete list of all current clinical trials offered by UPMC, please visit the University of Pittsburgh Office of Clinical Research and search by study name, keyword, or participant credentials.​

Web Extra

Visit the UPMC HealthTrak website to manage your health online.

For Details About Services in Your Community, Visit Our Hospital Websites

Additional Resources

 

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com