Drug Therapy Shows Promise In Preventing Hepatitis Infection In Transplant Recipients Who Receive Hepatitis B Positive Livers, Says One Study

November 05, 1998

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 5 -- Livers from hepatitis B positive donors were safely transplanted and a combination drug treatment prevented infection in recipients of those livers, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) researcher will report at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in Chicago Nov. 6-10. The results of the preliminary study are among more than 30 presentations by UPMC researchers, including three singled out by the AASLD for their scientific merits and study design.

In the face of a chronic shortage of organ donors, surgeons must often consider transplanting organs that may be considered less optimal or high risk. For example, if the only option available to save a patient's life is to transplant a liver from a donor who tests positive for hepatitis B (anti-HBc positive), a surgeon may do so even if it places the recipient at an increased risk for becoming infected with the virus. Post-transplant hepatitis B infection, which is usually evident within six months, is difficult to treat and can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the transplanted liver, thus requiring a second transplant.

But according to the UPMC study, a combination therapy of hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and lamivudine has the potential to stave off post-transplant infection in patients not immune to hepatitis B who receive hepatitis B positive livers. Twelve patients who received the combination therapy, which started during the transplant operation and continued for 18 months, all continue to be free of infection between five and 25 months post-transplant, according to the study's lead author, Andrew Bonham, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. Four of these patients, who were ICU-bound before their transplants, had never been exposed to hepatitis (anti-HBs negative) and had no immunity to the virus (anti-HBc negative). Eight others, most of whom were also listed in the most urgent status categories, had previously been exposed to the virus but had not developed immunity. One patient received only HBIG therapy because in 1996, at the time of his transplant, lamivudine was not available for these patients. The patient, who had not been exposed and had no immunity, became infected with the virus six months after transplantation.

The results of the study will be presented Sunday, Nov. 8, by S. Forrest Dodson, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the Starzl Transplantation Institute.

Three other studies being presented by UPMC researchers will be featured as AASLD President's Choice Posters. In reviewing abstracts submitted to the AASLD, a committee assigned scores to determine which ones would be accepted for poster presentation at the meeting, and those receiving scores that placed them in the top 10 percent were given the special recognition. Their results are as follows: The scientific meeting will also include a day-long series of debates on "Clinical and Administrative Controversies in Liver and Pancreas Transplantation" scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7. The UPMC, which has strongly advocated for changes in the organ allocation system, will participate in two of three debates on this subject.
-end-


University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Related Hepatitis Articles from Brightsurf:

Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
Researchers at the University of Delaware have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the ''spiky ball'' that encloses its genetic blueprint.

Liver cancer: Awareness of hepatitis D must be raised
Scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have studied the most serious consequence of chronic hepatitis: hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatitis B: New therapeutic approach may help to cure chronic hepatitis B infection
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have developed a novel therapeutic approach to cure chronic hepatitis B.

Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises
A new effective treatment of hepatitis C not only combats the virus, but is also effective against potentially fatal complications such as reduced liver functioning and cirrhosis.

Nanotechnology delivers hepatitis B vaccine
X-ray imaging shows that nanostructured silica acts as a protective vehicle to deliver intact antigen to the intestine so that it can trigger an immune response.

Checkmate for hepatitis B viruses in the liver
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Hospital Heidelberg, have for the first time succeeded in conquering a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus in a mouse model.

How common is Hepatitis C infection in each US state?
Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of illness and death in the United States and injection drug use is likely fueling many new cases.

New strains of hepatitis C found in Africa
The largest population study of hepatitis C in Africa has found three new strains of the virus circulating in the general population in sub-Saharan Africa.

High stability of the hepatitis B virus
At room temperature, hepatitis B viruses (HBV) remain contagious for several weeks and they are even able to withstand temperatures of four degrees centigrade over the span of nine months.

Findings could lead to treatment of hepatitis B
Researchers have gained new insights into the virus that causes hepatitis B -- a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.

Read More: Hepatitis News and Hepatitis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.