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CXCL10 is a Negative Prognostic Biomarker of Viral Clearance in Chronic HCV Patients

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French researchers recently analyzed chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients to identify plasma biomarkers for response to therapy. They identified CXCL10 as a negative prognostic biomarker of viral clearance.

There are nearly 170 million HCV-infected people worldwide. There is currently no approved vaccine available for HCV and approximately 80% of individuals infected by the virus develop chronic disease, a risk factor for cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer as well as other medical complications such as diabetes.

For the past decade, the mainstay of treatment has been type I interferon in combination with the anti-brial ribavirin. Unfortunately, it is effective in less than 50% of patients infected with HCV genotype 1 or 4. Moreover, treatment duration is long (24 – 48 weeks) and results in severe side effects.

The research, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (link below), demonstrates that plasma levels of the protein CXCL10, prior to the start of treatment, predict the efficacy of treatment with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin.

The biomarker will help inform physicians of the likelihood of patient response to standard treatment or if they will instead require new therapeutic cocktails (e.g., inclusion of protease inhibitors).

Based on these results, a prognostic test is being developed for commercialization in 2011.

Study: Evidence for an antagonist form of the chemokine CXCL10 in patients chronically infected with HCV

Source: Institut Pasteur