Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Gene predicts hepatitis treatment success

August 17, 2009

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— Scientists say they’ve found a big reason why treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection works better for white patients than for African-Americans. It’s a tiny variation in a gene.

People with a certain gene variant are far more likely to respond to treatment, and that variant is more common in people with European ancestry than African-Americans, researchers report.

In fact, that probably explains about half the racial disparity in treatment response, the scientists estimate in a study published online Sunday by the journal Nature.

The work involved 1,137 patients who had a chronic infection with the most common type of hepatitis C virus found in the United States and Europe, one that is is less responsive to treatment than other types. They were given standard drug treatment.

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