May 20, 2012

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May is National Hepatitis awareness month according to http://HepB.org. Susan Dale's family is passionate about racing and they are passionate about creating awareness about Hepatitis C. It’s been three years since the Dale family discovered that Hepatitis C was spreading faster than HIV/AIDS (HepB.org) and little was being done in making people aware of this silent killer. They knew something had to be done and, in spite of the daunting task ahead of them, they took on the challenge.

Tulsa, OK (PRWEB) May 14, 2012

Susan Dale says It all began when her brother, Allen Dale, reconnected with a high school friend on Facebook. He had no idea that a simple friendly request would start a family crusade involving hepatitis C awareness.

Allen didn’t know anything about Hepatitis C and responded much like the general public asking, “Isn’t there a shot for that"? Allen wanted to alleviate his lack of knowledge about the epidemic. Since his curiosity had been peaked, he began an Internet search for more information.

After reading material supplied by his friend Janel and information on the internet, Allen knew he needed to spread awareness for everyone to “Get Tested for Hepatitis C”. "What better way to spread the message than by driving 100 miles per hour on a race track in front of 60,000 racing fans and countless people watching on television?"

Allen contacted Susan for suggestions on getting the message out. Susan is a stand-up comedian and has a small production company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Part of her work is producing public service announcements. Allen told Susan about the message he was putting on the side of his race car and she had to ask him,”Why hepatitis C?”

Allen informed Susan that Hepatitis C was spreading faster than the HIV/AID virus. Susan was shocked. None of her doctors ever suggested she get tested for Hepatitis C. Within her own family, Susan says, "Events in our lives that could have exposed us to this disease. My older brother has been in a number of racing accidents that resulted in injuries, from crushed feet and legs to a broken neck and back. He had countless surgeries, particularly in the years before blood was screened. We’ve all worked on the race track where blood exposure is a common occurrence, and we never though about gloves. Even Allen had surgery in 1997 to have a kidney removed. And like many women, I get my nails done occasionally by a manicurist. More importantly, in my own research, I discovered that a large number of people with Hepatitis C have no idea how they were infected with the virus."

They started their campaign with a simple PSA and now have expanded their campaign to display the car at every event where they go. From racing events, local fairs, even simply pulling into a large parking lot and displaying the race car with the message on the side of the car and trailer. Within minutes people start gathering around the car. They are overwhelmed with the amount of supporters from the people at the racetrack and within the communities. Several families have approached the Dale's to share their experiences with hepatitis C. They are always surprised by the stories they hear and the misinformation and social stigma about the disease. Susan says, "We want hepatitis C to be a common health topic of conversation. Our message is simple, “Get Tested for Hepatitis C.”'

For more information about the Dales’ campaign contact:
Susan Dale
918-640-8924
Lynnbaxterstudios(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan recently joined The Venture Network in Tulsa, OK, a Social Media-Based Business Referral Network to help her get her message out.

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PRESS RELEASE

May 14, 2012, 12:00 p.m. EDT

PARIS, May 14, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Regulatory News:

BioAlliance Pharma SA (euronext paris:BIO), a Company dedicated to orphan oncology products and specialty products, today announces the initiation of ReLive, its phase III clinical trial with Livatag(R) (doxorubicin Transdrug(TM)), as scheduled in the advancement calendar of the project. This international, multicenter, randomized phase III trial aims at evaluating the efficacy of Livatag(R) on overall survival in nearly 400 patients suffering from Hepato Cellular Carcinoma, resistant or intolerant to sorafenib.

Almost 15 French sites expert in hepatology are already initiated and able to start recruiting the first patients. In the short and middle term, BioAlliance Pharma plans to extend the study to about 30 sites in France and abroad.

"Primary liver cancer is a particularly severe cancer and the need for efficacious treatments in advanced stage of the disease is major to improve patients' survival", declares Pr. Philippe Merle, Professor in Hepatology (La Croix Rousse Hospital, Lyon, France) and Principal Investigator of the study. "Livatag(R) represents a different therapeutic approach, as compared with targeted therapies currently under evaluation. Its nanoparticle formulation enables Livatag(R) to bypass the resistance mechanisms of the tumor cell and assign it an interesting activity. This clinical trial should confirm it."

The clinical trial batches of Livatag(R) have been performed by qualified companies for injectable cytoxic products in nanoparticle form, in collaboration with the BioAlliance Pharma's team specialized in industrial development that ensured the transmission of its know-how specific to nanoparticle Transdrug(TM) technology, and followed throughout the process. The clinical batches will be sent to the investigating sites in the next days.

At last, the European independent Board of experts of the ReLive trial has met, with Pr. Michel Beaugrand (Jean Verdier University Hospital, Paris) as President and Pr. Jordi Bruix (Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona), as Vice-President. It will perform a regular monitoring of the study.

"All necessary authorizations and conditions are now in place to enable us to actually start the ReLive trial; the investigators can now screen and treat their first patients. The need for alternative therapeutics in primary advanced liver cancer is crucial and this trial should enable to establish the efficacy and the tolerance of Livatag(R) in this indication. This last step of the product development is now launched, barely one year after announcement of the phase II preliminary results, and in line with the expected schedule, this is a substantial team performance", comments Judith Greciet, CEO of BioAlliance Pharma. "Livatag(R) is the leader of our "Orphan Oncology product" portfolio, core of the Company's growth strategy, and represents a very strong asset for BioAlliance, with a sales potential above 800 million Euros. Implementation and realization of ReLive are indeed key steps to value this Company's strong asset".

About BioAlliance Pharma

Dedicated to cancer and supportive care treatment with a focus on resistance targeting and orphan products, BioAlliance conceives and develops innovative products, for specialty markets especially in the hospital setting and for orphan or rare diseases.

Created in 1997 and introduced to the Euronext Paris market in 2005, BioAlliance Pharma's ambition is to become a leading player in these fields by coupling innovation to patient needs. The company's teams have the key competencies required to identify, develop and register drugs in Europe and the USA.

BioAlliance Pharma has developed an advanced product portfolio:

Specialty products

Loramyc(R)/Oravig(R) (oropharyngeal candidiasis in immunocompromised patients): Registered in 28 countries (EU, US, Korea)

Sitavir(R) (Acyclovir Lauriad(TM)) (labialis herpes): Positive phase III final results; registration status

Fentanyl Lauriad(TM) (chronic cancer pain): Positive preliminary Phase I results

Orphan Oncology products

Livatag(R) (Doxorubicin Transdrug(TM)) in primary liver cancer: Authorization for Phase III clinical trial

Clonidine LauriadTM (mucositis): Phase II on going

AMEP(R) (invasive melanoma): Phase I on going

For more information, visit the BioAlliance Pharma web site at www.bioalliancepharma.com

Disclaimer

This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BioAlliance Pharma SA and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of BioAlliance Pharma SA to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. BioAlliance Pharma SA is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For a discussion of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of BioAlliance Pharma SA to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the Risk Factors ("Facteurs de Risque") section of the 2011 Reference Document filed with the AMF on April 24, 2012, which is available on the AMF website ( http://www.amf-france.org ) or on BioAlliance Pharma SA's website ( http://www.bioalliancepharma.com ).

SOURCE: BioAlliance Pharma SA

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PRESS RELEASE

May 15, 2012, 5:00 a.m. EDT

CAMBRIDGE, England, May 15, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Lab21 Limited, the Cambridge, UK-based specialist in personalised medicine has secured new patents in Europe and the USA relating to Hepatitis C (HCV) drug resistance as it continues to expand its intellectual property portfolio in infectious disease testing.

The patents cover technology allowing the genotypic identification of drug resistant mutations in the 4 major global genotypes of HCV. The new patents represent successful extensions of the original European approval, granted in 2009. The US patent is the first successful patent Lab21 has secured in North America to protect its growing business.

There is significant commercial interest in the development of small molecule HCV therapeutics with two licensed protease (NS3) inhibitors already available today and at least 10 new molecules in clinical trials.

Dr Berwyn Clarke, CSO at Lab21 commented: 'Lab21 has extensive experience in the area of antiretroviral drug resistance from many years of working in HIV. With the number of new HCV therapeutics in development and the changeable nature of the virus, we expect routine resistance analysis for HCV patients to be introduced into clinical guidelines in the near future. Our IP in this area will be of great importance to the clinical management of these patients and will enable easy drug resistance monitoring during clinical trials.

The patents build on Lab21's growing intellectual property portfolio, which includes pharmacogenetic markers, disease markers and proprietary assay technology. Lab21 is investing in the development of a number of novel infectious disease and cancer assays which will secure a highly competitive position in diagnostic markets which are undergoing significant change, such as companion diagnostics.

Graham Mullis, Lab21 CEO added 'The development of an extensive IP portfolio which adds novel content to our offering in the market is an important part of Lab21's growth strategy. Given the significant market opportunity that HCV drug resistance presents in the future, Lab21 is looking to not only have its own commercially available assay but is actively seeking partners who are interested in developing such products too'.

About Lab21

Lab21 is a global leader in personalised healthcare. It provides diagnostic products and services and supports blood bank screening, medical diagnostics and drug discovery. Lab21 customers include international healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies. The Products division of Lab21 manufactures immunodiagnostic kits and reagents that are distributed internationally and is focused on infectious diseases for the blood-banking and clinical markets. Our clinical services operations has a growing test portfolio providing companion diagnostics and high technology molecular assays. Lab21's corporate offices are based in Cambridge, UK and South Carolina, with a GMP manufacturing site in Cambridge and other manufacturing facilities in Newmarket, Camberley, Manchester and Bridport. Website: www.lab21.com

SOURCE: Lab21

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May 15th, 2012

The editors of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, are pleased to announce the publication of this year's highly anticipated special 13th issue. Published each May, the 13th issue is devoted to a particular gastroenterological topic of broad interest; this year's topic is viral hepatitis.

In conjunction with editor-in-chief M. Bishr Omary, MD, PhD, this issue was developed by Gastroenterology's experts in viral hepatitis: Senior Associate Editor Anna S. Lok, MD, AGAF, and Associate Editor Jean-Michel Pawlotsky, MD, PhD. Their expertise guided the contributing authors — an outstanding group of thoughtful expert international leaders.

"Our goals in this special issue of Gastroenterology are to give readers an up-to-date insight into the tremendous progress made over the past few years in viral hepatitis research and care, and to guide them through complex challenges and expected future developments," said the editors.

In this year's issue, classic review articles are interspersed with insightful commentaries that address critical unresolved issues and fundamental questions for the future. The content is organized into four sections, mainly related to hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections: epidemiology and pathophysiology; diagnostic and prognostic tools; therapy and prevention; and hepatitis E virus, a neglected virus that was recently found to be clinically important in industrialized countries.

No other field in hepatology and gastroenterology has grown more rapidly than viral hepatitis in the past 15 years, thanks to the considerable interest of the scientific community for diseases that involve more than 500 million patients worldwide; active support for research from governments in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia; and major drug industry investment for what promises to be an incredibly rewarding market for antiviral drugs. This issue not only contains classical review articles dealing with important areas for which major advances have occurred recently, but editorial-like commentaries exploring critical unresolved issues and fundamental questions for the future. The commentaries, reviews and their distinguished authors are as follows:

Commentaries

  • "Is Hepatitis C Virus Carcinogenic?" by Stanley M. Lemon and David R. McGivern
  • "HCV Infection and Metabolic Syndrome: Which Is the Chicken and Which Is the Egg?" by Francesco Negro
  • "Genetic Factors and Hepatitis C Virus Infection" by Alexander J. Thompson
  • "Will Interferon-Free Regimens Prevail?" by Christoph Welsch and Stefan Zeuzem
  • "Is There a Role for Ribavirin in the Era of Hepatitis C Virus Direct-Acting Antivirals?" by Jordan J. Feld
  • "Is Hepatitis Virus Resistance to Antiviral Drugs a Threat?" by Jean-Michel Pawlotsky
  • "Will There Be a Vaccine to Protect Against the Hepatitis C Virus?" by Benoît Callendret and Christopher M. Walker

Reviews

  • "Epidemiology of Viral Hepatitis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma" by Hashem B. El-Serag
  • "Animal Models for the Study of Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Related Liver Disease" by Jens Bukh
  • "Noninvasive Methods to Assess Liver Disease in Patients With Hepatitis B or C" by Laurent Castera
  • "New Virologic Tools for Management of Chronic Hepatitis B and C" by Stéphane Chevaliez, Christophe Rodriguez and Jean-Michel Pawlotsky
  • "Maximizing Opportunities and Avoiding Mistakes in Triple Therapy for Hepatitis C Virus" by A. Sidney Barritt and Michael W. Fried
  • "Management of Patients Coinfected With HCV and HIV: A Close Look at the Role for Direct-Acting Antivirals" by Susanna Naggie and Mark S. Sulkowski
  • "Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Drugs in Development" by Esperance A.K. Schaefer and Raymond T. Chung
  • "Effectiveness of Hepatitis B Treatment in Clinical Practice" by Steven J. Scaglione and Anna S.F. Lok
  • "Viral Hepatitis in Liver Transplantation" by Gonzalo Crespo, Zoe Mariño, Miquel Navasa and Xavier Forns
  • "Pathogenesis and Treatment of Hepatitis E Virus Infection" by Heiner Wedemeyer, Sven Pischke and Michael P. Manns

"We hope this supplementary issue will provide the readers with useful and up-to-date information to understand the new directions of viral hepatitis care and research, and the formidable remaining challenges," stated Drs. Lok and Pawlotsky.

Provided by American Gastroenterological Association

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May 14, 2012

- Survey of Baby Boomers Reveals Dangerous “It’s Not Me” Mentality About Hepatitis C

- AGA Launches New Campaign to Address Threat

Bethesda, MD (May 14, 2012) — Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) have never been tested or are unsure if they have been tested for hepatitis C, and 80 percent do not consider themselves at any risk for having the disease, according to a new survey by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). This lack of knowledge has significant implications — nearly 5 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C1 of which 82 percent2 are baby boomers, but three in four people infected don’t know they have it.3 Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver failure, liver cancer or the need for a liver transplant in the U.S.4
In addition to a lack of knowledge, the survey showed a lack of action: 83 percent of the baby boomers surveyed have never discussed hepatitis C with their health-care provider, even though it is diagnosed with a simple blood test and for many people, can be cured.5 Findings were released today by the AGA in advance of National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19) to encourage baby boomers to talk to their health-care providers about getting tested—discussions that could potentially save lives. The survey of more than 1,000 baby boomers not previously diagnosed with hepatitis C was conducted online by Harris Interactive* on behalf of the AGA as part of a new educational campaign called I.D. Hep C.

“Many baby boomers have a potentially dangerous ‘it’s not me’ mentality about hepatitis C, and this survey underscores how poorly most people in that generation understand that risk factors do apply to them,” said Ira M. Jacobson, MD, AGAF, chief, division of gastroenterology and hepatology and professor of medicine, The Joan Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and physician co-advisor to AGA’s I.D. Hep C campaign. “Given the potentially deadly consequences of allowing hepatitis C to go undiagnosed, the AGA urges all baby boomers to talk to their doctors about getting tested.”

To help combat the looming hepatitis C public health issue and address this knowledge gap, the AGA has launched I.D. Hep C, a new campaign to educate people, especially baby boomers, about hepatitis C and encourage them to speak up and get tested. By visiting www.IDHepC.org, people can learn more about hepatitis C and testing and get information on where to get tested — including free or low-cost screening events in some regions in the days surrounding National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19). At www.IDHepC.org, the AGA is also encouraging people to show their commitment to stopping this silent killer by taking a virtual pledge to get tested and spread the word.

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that is spread through infected blood.6 Hepatitis C is responsible for about 15,000 deaths annually in the U.S., more than HIV.7 Liver damage from hepatitis C gets worse over time, and because many boomers have been infected for decades, the number of people who die from hepatitis C-related liver problems is expected to increase by 207 percent from 2000 to 2030.8

Survey Findings

The survey also revealed baby boomers are largely unaware of other important facts about hepatitis C:

  • Eighty-three percent of baby boomers don’t realize their generation is most likely to have hepatitis C. Instead, half (52 percent) believe all age groups have a similar risk and nearly one quarter (24 percent) think those in Generation X (ages 31 to 46) are more likely to have the disease.
  • Fifty-five percent of baby boomers think every ethnic group has the same likelihood of having hepatitis C, even though African Americans and Hispanics are affected by hepatitis C at a significantly higher rate than the general population.9,10
  • Fewer than one in five (18 percent) baby boomers know that for many people, hepatitis C can be cured.

“The disease can’t be treated if people don’t know they are infected. With treatment, the chance of a cure is greater than ever,” said Michael Ryan, MD, clinical professor of medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, practicing gastroenterologist with Digestive and Liver Disease Specialists of Norfolk, VA, and physician co-advisor to AGA’s I.D. Hep C campaign. “I see every day the devastation hepatitis C can cause, especially to those who have lived with the disease for years without knowing it. Baby boomers shouldn’t wait – they should talk to their doctors today about getting this simple test.”

About the Survey Methodology*

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of the AGA and Vertex from April 9–13, 2012, among 1,006 baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) not previously diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Additional survey findings are available at www.IDHepC.org.

About the Campaign

I.D. Hep C isa new campaign to educate people, especially baby boomers, about hepatitis C and encourage them to speak up and get tested to learn their status. By visiting www.IDHepC.org, people can take a virtual pledge to learn more and educate others about hepatitis C and testing and get information on where to get tested — including free or low-cost screening events in some regions in the days leading up to and following National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19). At www.IDHepC.org, the AGA is also encouraging people to show their commitment to stopping this silent killer by taking a virtual pledge to get tested and spread the word. This campaign is funded by Vertex.

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, which is spread through direct contact with the blood of infected people and ultimately affects the liver. Chronic hepatitis C can lead to serious and life-threatening liver problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. Though many people with hepatitis C may not experience symptoms, others may have symptoms such as fatigue, fever, jaundice and abdominal pain.6

People who are at risk for hepatitis C include:

  • People born between born between 1945 and 1965.
  • People who had blood transfusions or organ transplants before 1992.
  • People with tattoos or body piercings.
  • People who used intravenous drugs, even once.
  • People who work in a health-care setting.
  • People with HIV.4

Unlike HIV and hepatitis B virus, for many people, chronic hepatitis C can be cured.5 More than 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis C.11 In the U.S., up to 5 million people have chronic hepatitis C1 and 75 percent of them are unaware of their infection.3 Hepatitis C is five times more prevalent in the U.S. compared to HIV.12 The majority of people with hepatitis C in the U.S. were born between 1945 and 1965, accounting for 82 percent of all people with the disease.2 In the U.S., hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantations4 and is reported to contribute to 15,000 deaths annually.7

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.

Like AGA on Facebook.
Join AGA on LinkedIn.
Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn; include our campaign hashtag: #IDHepC.
Check out our videos on YouTube.

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1Chak, E, et. al. Hepatitis C Virus Infection In USA: An Estimate of True Prevalence. Liver Intl. 2011;1096 -1098.

2 Smith BD, et al. Hepatitis C virus antibody prevalence, correlates and predictors among persons born from 1945 through 1965 United States, 1999-2008. Abstract #394. Presented at: American Association for the Study of Liver Disease 2011 Annual Meeting; San Francisco, CA; November 5, 2011.

3Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Hepatitis and liver cancer: a national strategy for prevention and control of hepatitis B and C. Colvin HM and Mitchell AE, ed. Updated January 11, 2010. Available at: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Hepatitis-and-Liver-Cancer-A-National-Strategy-for-Prevention-and-Control-of-Hepatitis-B-and-C.aspx. Accessed May 3, 2012.

4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C FAQs for the Public. June 9, 2009. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/cFAQ.htm. Accessed May 3, 2012.

5Pearlman BL and Traub N. Sustained Virologic Response to Antiviral Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Cure and So Much More. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Apr;52(7):889-900.

6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C Fact Sheet: CDC Viral Hepatitis. June 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/PDFs/HepCGeneralFactSheet.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2012.

7Ly KN, et al. The Increasing Burden of Mortality From Viral Hepatitis in the United States Between 1999 and 2007. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:271-278.

8Davis GL, Albright JE, Cook SF, Rosenberg DM. Projecting Future Complications of Chronic Hepatitis C in the United States Liver Transpl. 2003;4:331-8.

9Hepatitis C Support Coalition. Hepatitis C and Hispanics. 2006. Available at: http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Hispanics.pdf Accessed May 3, 2012.

10Pearlman BL. Hepatitis C in African Americans. Clin Infect Dis. 2006;42:82-91.

11Ghany MG, Strader DB, Thomas DL, Seeff, LB. Diagnosis, management and treatment of hepatitis C; An update. Hepatology. 2009;49 (4):1-40.

12HCV Advocate. HIV/HCV Coinfection. March 2010. Available at: http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/HIV_HCV%20coinfecton_10.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2012.

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liver_cancer-300x295

A microscopic image of a section of a liver biopsy from a patient with hepatitis C. The viral proteins are green, cell nuclei are blue.

5.17.12 | Frank Vinluan

The hepatitis C virus is believed to have links to the growth of liver cancer, but those connections have been hard to study. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research aimed at learning more about those connections has secured a $2.35 million federal grant.

The five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute will enable two UNC researchers to combine their respective research efforts. Lishan Su, a professor of microbiology and immunology, has developed a laboratory model that closely replicates how the disease progresses in humans. He will work with Stanley Lemon, a professor of medicine and microbiology who has been working to understand how genetic changes in the hepatitis C virus affects the progression of disease, such as liver cancer.

Lemon said that a number of studies have documented that inflammation plays a role in liver cancer, but evidence suggests that there is more that is happening.

“We believe that the virus is interacting specifically with host cell tumor suppressor pathways to promote cancer, and we want to understand what drives this progression from infection to cancer in order to figure out how to stop it,” Lemon said in a statement.

Hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States and affects approximately 3.2 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It kills more Americans each year than HIV/AIDS. Liver cancer is the third-leading cause of death from cancer worldwide and the ninth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.Most of those cases come from hepatitis virus infections.

[Image courtesy of the University of North Carolina]

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Gay Men Have Higher Liver-Related Mortality From HBV Than HCV

From Reuters Health Information

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) May 16 - In a population of men who have sex with men (MSM) -- with a high prevalence of HIV infection -- chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) led to twice as many liver-related deaths as chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), researchers report.

"Our findings further highlight the need to expand screening for, and vaccination against, hepatitis B. Individuals found to be infected with hepatitis B need to get evaluated for treatment," lead investigator Dr. Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia told Reuters Health by email.

In an April 20th online paper in Clinical Infectious Diseases, Dr. Falade-Nwulia of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland and colleagues reported on 680 men with HBV and 343 with HBC taking part in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, including 472 (69.4%) with HIV-1.

Over 6,728 person-years of follow-up, there were 293 deaths from all causes, including 51 from liver disease. The mortality rate per 1,000 person-years was similar between HBV and HBC groups (41.2 vs 46.4) - but liver-related mortality was significantly higher in HBV patients (9.6 vs 5.0).

Forty-six of 51 liver-related deaths were in men with HIV. This gave a corresponding mortality rate per 1,000 person-years of 10.7 in HIV patients and 2.1 in those without HIV.

In HIV-infected men, the liver-related mortality rate has fallen since 2002 in both in those with HBV and those with HCV.

HIV men with CD4 cell counts below 200 cells/mm3 had a 16.2 fold increased risk of liver-related death compared to those with counts beyond 350 cells/mm3.

The authors call for more studies "to determine whether the results are applicable to women, HIV-uninfected individuals or to men who are infected with HBV or HCV through other routes."

Although not directly comparable, a large prospective study in a general Taiwanese population also showed the negative influence of HBV. Participants with inactive HBV were twice as likely to have a liver-related death as controls negative for HBV surface antigen and antibody against HCV. (See Reuters Health report of February 15, 2010.)

The authors of the current study say it "emphasizes the need for a more aggressive approach to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic hepatitis B including increasing vaccination rates among all hepatitis B susceptible individuals."

Although fatalities are greater in the immunocompromised, Dr. Falade-Nwulia pointed out that "everyone, regardless of HIV status should be evaluated for treatment of hepatitis B."

Dr. Falade-Nwulia added, "We need to more effectively use the tools we already have against hepatitis B and continue to work towards finding a cure."

Dr. Lionel Piroth of CHU Dijon, France, who did not take part in the study, told Reuters Health by email "I agree with the comments of the authors." He said the new results complement findings he and his colleagues reported several years ago (see Reuters Health report of September 10, 2010), namely, that HIV does not appear to affect the success of HBV treatment.

The US findings, he added, "strengthen the 'old' recommendations to screen and vaccinate (if no HBV serological markers detected) HIV-infected patients against HBV. Furthermore, and even though not statistically significant, the temporal trend observed... highlights the need and the interest of efficient anti-HBV therapy on the clinical evolution of the patients."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/K83reA

Clin Infect Dis 2012.

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Press Release

For immediate release: May 18, 2012
Media Contact: NCHHSTP - News Media Line, 404.639.8895, NCHHSTPMediaTeam@cdc.gov

On the eve of the first ever National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing draft guidelines proposing that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus. One in 30 baby boomers – the generation born from 1945 through 1965 – has been infected with hepatitis C, and most don’t know it. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases including liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths, and the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.

CDC believes this approach will address the largely preventable consequences of this disease, especially in light of newly available therapies that can cure up to 75 percent of infections.

“With increasingly effective treatments now available, we can prevent tens of thousands of deaths from hepatitis C,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C, accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. Yet most infected baby boomers do not know they have the virus because hepatitis C can damage the liver for many years with few noticeable symptoms. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade and are projected to grow significantly in coming years.

“Identifying these hidden infections early will allow more baby boomers to receive care and treatment, before they develop life-threatening liver disease,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and Tuberculosis Prevention.

Current CDC guidelines call for testing only individuals with certain known risk factors for hepatitis C infection. But studies find that many baby boomers do not perceive themselves to be at risk and are not being tested.

CDC estimates one-time hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C, prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and save more than 120,000 lives.

CDC’s draft recommendations will be available for a public comment period from May 22 – June 8, 2012.

Other important announcements tied to the first National Hepatitis Testing Day include:

  • The release of a $6.5 million funding opportunity announcement to expand testing of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, increase earlier diagnosis of individuals with infections, and enhance linkage to care, treatment and preventive services for people living with these infections.
    Funded efforts will focus on groups that are disproportionately affected by the disease, including Asian-American Pacific Islander communities who have the highest rates of hepatitis B, and injection drug users and individuals born from 1945 – 1965 who are most affected by hepatitis C. These efforts align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, which was released in May 2011.
  • Adding additional tools and resources to the CDC Know More Hepatitis website, including a new online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool. This tool is designed to help people determine their risk for viral hepatitis.
  • Collaborating with HHS to produce PSAs featuring HHS’ assistant secretary for health, Howard Koh, M.D., and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., with specific outreach to high-risk communities on the importance of testing.

For additional information about hepatitis, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.

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Contact:

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
News Media Line, 404-639-8895, NCHHSTPMediaTeam@cdc.gov

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Source: OraSure Technologies, Inc.
Date: May 18, 2012 14:59 ET

Draft Recommendations Call for HCV Testing of All Persons Born Between 1945 and 1965

BETHLEHEM, Pa., May 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OraSure Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSUR) today issued a statement in strong support of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) draft guidelines proposing that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The CDC issued a press release (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HepTestingRecsPressRelease2012.html) earlier today proposing that all persons born between 1945 and 1965 – approximately 81 million according to the 2010 Census – be tested for HCV. CDC's draft recommendations will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 22, and will be made available for public comment until June 8.

The CDC also announced the release of a $6.5 million funding opportunity announcement to expand testing of hepatitis.

According to the CDC, identifying hepatitis C infections early will allow more baby boomers to receive care and treatment, before they develop life threatening liver disease. The CDC believes that one in 30 baby boomers has been infected with hepatitis C, and most don't know it. They estimate that more than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with HCV and are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases including liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths, and the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States, according to the agency.

"Hepatitis C can now be more effectively treated in a high percentage of people with HCV infection, making expanded testing – particularly among the baby boomer generation– a critical step in fighting this insidious epidemic," said Douglas A. Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies.

OraQuick® HCV is the only FDA-approved rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus utilizing fingerstick and venipuncture whole blood specimens in persons with signs or symptoms of hepatitis and in persons at risk for hepatitis C infection. The test, which utilizes the OraQuick® technology platform, provides results in 20 minutes.

About OraSure Technologies

OraSure Technologies is a leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of oral fluid diagnostic and collection devices and other technologies designed to detect or diagnose critical medical conditions. Its innovative products include rapid tests for the detection of antibodies to HIV and HCV at the point of care and testing solutions for detecting various drugs of abuse. In addition, the Company is a leading provider of oral fluid sample collection, stabilization and preparation products for molecular diagnostic applications. OraSure's portfolio of products is sold globally to various clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and other public health organizations, research and academic institutions, distributors, government agencies, physicians' offices, and commercial and industrial entities. The Company's products enable healthcare providers to deliver critical information to patients, empowering them to make decisions to improve and protect their health.

For more information on OraSure Technologies, please visit www.orasure.com.

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AGA presents cutting-edge research during DDW®

Public release date: 18-May-2012

Contact: Alissa Cruz
media@gastro.org
619-525-6241
American Gastroenterological Association

Advances highlight progress being made in the treatment and research of GI disorders

San Diego, CA (May 18, 2012) — Clinicians, researchers and scientists from around the world will gather for Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2012, the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting, from May 19-22, 2012, at the San Diego Convention Center, CA. DDW, the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, is jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the AGA, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

AGA researchers will present exciting, cutting-edge data during the meeting that will help change the way physicians diagnose and treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. All data presented during DDW is embargoed until the beginning of the presentation or an official DDW press conference, whichever occurs first. A list of press conferences is available at www.ddw.org/press. All sessions will be held in the San Diego Convention Center unless otherwise noted.

AGA Late-Breaking Sessions Late-breaking abstract poster sessions will occur on May 21, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. PT, Halls C–G. In addition, on May 22, 8:30 a.m. PT, Room 20d, the AGA will feature its most impressive late-breaking abstracts, which include exciting data on:

  • Oral Methylnaltrexone for the Treatment of Opioid-Induced Constipation in Patients With Noncancer Pain (8:30 a.m. PT, Abstract #943a) Richard L. Rauck et al.
  • Vedolizumab Induction Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis: Results of Gemini I, a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Multicenter Phase 3 Trial (8:45 a.m. PT, Abstract #943b) Brian G. Feagan et al.
  • Accelerated Step-Care Therapy With Early Azathioprine (AZA) vs. Conventional Step-Care Therapy in Crohn's Disease: A Randomized Study (9 a.m. PT, Abstract #943c) Jacques Cosnes et al.
  • A Phase 2/3 Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Subcutaneous Golimumab Induction Therapy in Patients With Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis: Pursuit SC (9:15 a.m. PT, Abstract #943d) William J. Sandborn et al.
  • Mudelta Treatment Improves Bowel Movement Frequency and Urgency Episodes in Patients With Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Results of a Phase 2 Clinical Trial (9:30 a.m. PT, Abstract #943e) Paul S. Covington et al.
  • Tmc435 in HCV Genotype 1 Patients Who Have Failed Previous Pegylated Interferon/Ribavirin Treatment: Final Svr24 Results of the Aspire Trial (9:45 a.m. PT, Abstract #943f ) Fred Poordad et al.

Plenary Sessions

During the Presidential Plenary Session, AGA Institute President, C. Richard Boland, MD, AGAF, will focus on the latest research and clinical advances in the field of gastroenterology. Two additional plenary sessions feature noteworthy clinical and basic science research presented at DDW.

The Presidential Plenary Session presentations (May 21, 10 a.m. PT, Room 20d) include:

  • The Future of Clinical Practice in Gastroenterology. John I. Allen, Minnesota Gastroenterology PA; University of Minnesota School of Medicine
  • Medicine in the United Kingdom - Contrasts and Lessons From the National Health Service. Jonathan M. Rhodes, University of Liverpool
  • Curing Chronic Viral Hepatitis - the New World of Antiviral Therapy. Jacqueline G. O'Leary, Liver Consultants of Texas
  • GI Motility, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Women. Lin Chang, UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases
  • The Future of Personalized Medicine - Reality vs Illusion. Anil K. Rustgi, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • How Will We Prevent Colorectal Cancer in the Future? Dennis J. Ahnen, Denver VA Medical Center
  • The Microbiome and Inflammation. Gary D. Wu, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Obesity, Diet and the Microbiome. Lee M. Kaplan, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • The Future of IBD Therapy. William J. Sandborn, University of California, San Diego

The Basic Science Plenary Session presentations (May 20, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 6e) include:

  • Heme Oxygenase-1 Maintains Intestinal Homeostasis Through Augmented Enteric Bacterial Clearance (2:20 p.m. PT, Abstract #514) Joseph C. Onyiah et al.
  • Weight-Independent Changes in Gut Microbial Ecology Regulate Adiposity Following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery in Mice (2:35 p.m. PT, Abstract #515) Alice P. Liou et al.
  • The Gut Microbiota At the Interface Between Mucosal Immunity and Host Metabolism (2:50 p.m. PT, Abstract #Sp502) Martin J. Blaser
  • DCLK1 Labels a Multipotent and Residual Neural Crest-Derived Stem Cell in the Gut Epithelium and Enteric Nervous System (3:10 p.m. PT, Abstract #515a) Michael Quante et al.
  • Cell-Autonomous ADAM10 Signaling Is Essential for Maintenance of Long-Lived Multipotent Intestinal Stem Cells (3:25 p.m. PT, Abstract #517) Yu-Hwai Tsai et al.
  • Patch Clamp Recordings Reveal Paracellular (Tight Junction) Ion Channels (3:40 p.m. PT, Abstract #518) Christopher R. Weber et al.

The Clinical Science Plenary Session presentations (May 21, 8 a.m. PT, Room 20d) include:

  • Effect of Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening on Incidence and Mortality From Colorectal Cancer in the PLCO Screening Trial (8:05 a.m. PT, Abstract #588) Robert E. Schoen et al.
  • Modulation of the Brain-Gut Axis After 4-Week Intervention With a Probiotic Fermented Dairy Product (8:27 a.m. PT, Abstract #589) Kirsten Tillisch et al.
  • Screening and Surveillance in Barrett's Esophagus: Does It Make Sense? (8:49 a.m. PT, Abstract #Sp554) David A. Katzka
  • One-Year Effectiveness and Costs of Six Alternative H. pylori Test/Treat and Retest/Retreat Strategies Using Triple, Concomitant or Sequential Drug Regimens in Seven Latin American Sites (SWOG Trial S0701) (9:11 a.m. PT, Abstract #590) Javier Torres et al.
  • Obese Pediatric Patients Have Increased Cardiovascular Disease Risk Comparable to Pediatric Patients With Familial Dyslipidemia (9:33 a.m. PT, Abstract #591) Angela Shannon et al.

Other exciting data will be presented during DDW, including 41 clinical symposia, 12 translational symposia, 11 research symposia, seven state-of-the-art lectures, six distinguished abstract plenary sessions, and other committee-sponsored and special sessions on a range of GI topics. Additionally, the AGA Institute will sponsor four curbside consultant sessions. A total of 11 focused research roundtables and focused clinical updates — breakfast sessions designed to help participants choose the must-see basic science and clinical research abstracts presented during DDW — will occur throughout the meeting.

AGA Academy of Educators Plenary Session

We are excited to announce that this year, the AGA will offer a committee-sponsored symposium, AGA Academy of Educators: Teaching and Promoting Scholarship in Education (May 22, 8:30 a.m., Hilton San Diego Bayfront - Indigo E). Discussion topics will include developing successful strategies for teaching, opportunities for scholarship and academic advancement in GI and liver medical education, and successes in and barriers to advancement in medical education. Roundtable discussions including expert teachers and other board members of the academy will follow.

AGA Practitioner Picks AGA Practitioner Picks allow attendees to build their DDW schedule around the most clinically relevant sessions. These picks help community-based gastroenterologists choose the programming that will be the most helpful in day-to-day practice:

  • Everything You Need to Know about IBS Treatment (May 19, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 24abc)
  • Clinical Chronic Pancreatitis (May 19, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 4)
  • Pathogenesis and Diagnosis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (May 20, 8:30 a.m. PT, Room 30ab)
  • Epidemiology and Management of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (May 20, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 30cde)
  • Sessile Serrated Polyps - What to Do? (May 20, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 8)
  • Clinical Science Plenary (May 21, 8 a.m. PT, Room 20d)
  • 2012 Presidential Plenary (May 21, 10 a.m. PT, Room 20d)
  • Advances in the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (May 22, 10:30 a.m., Room 20a)
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics (May 22, 10:30 a.m., Room 3)
  • Managing the Complications of IBD Therapies (May 22, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 2)
  • Pancreatic Malignancy (May 22, 2:15 p.m. PT, Room 26ab)

AGA Institute-Rome Foundation Lectureship

During the sixth annual AGA Institute-Rome Foundation Lectureship (May 20, 10:30 a.m. PT, Room 9), experts will provide a comprehensive overview of Intestinal Permeability in Gastroenterology and its Relevance to Functional GI Disorders and discuss the following topics:

  • Regulation of Intestinal Permeability in Health and Disease
  • Esophageal Permeability: Does It Explain the Symptoms of NERD?
  • Intestinal Permeability: Does It Explain the Symptoms of Functional GI Disorders?

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About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.

Like AGA on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmerGastroAssn.

Search for the AGA group on LinkedIn.

Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn.

Check out our videos on YouTube: www.youtube.com/AmerGastroAssn.

About DDW

DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, DDW takes place May 19-22��, 2012, at the San Diego Convention Center, CA. The meeting showcases approximately 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. For more information, visit www.ddw.org.

Follow us on Twitter @DDWMeeting; hashtag #DDW12. Like DDW on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DDWMeeting.

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