Feb 27 2014 05:07 AM
A team of researchers from Dundee University, key Scottish Hepatitis services and Hepatitis Scotland is to test speculation as to whether Vitamin D can enhance Hepatitis C cure rates when used in combination with currently available treatment therapies.
New Hepatitis C treatments will soon be available but are likely to be very expensive. With approximately 150 million people chronically infected with Hepatitis C worldwide, and 38,000 in Scotland alone, cost factors are likely to play a significant part in future treatment decisions. The research team will use evidence from previous small trials as a basis for a new investigation which will provide firm evidence to confirm the impact that Vitamin D might have on cure rates.
Hepatitis Scotland’s Lead Officer, Leon Wylie said, “This study could have significant impact on the future of Hepatitis C treatment, both here and internationally. If this study replicates other findings then a very cheap and safe method of increasing treatment success rates could be available, at a cost of pennies a day. When we first saw the early research it seemed very exciting and I am extremely pleased that our partnership working has helped achieve the start of this research. “
Dr John Dillon, Dundee University Clinical Reader, NHS Tayside Consultant Hepatologist and co-Chair of the National Hepatitis C Clinicians group, said, “This trial shows Scotland working together to discover new ways of helping cure patients affected by hepatitis C, here in Scotland and across the world. It further establishes Scotland’s reputation as a world-leading centre for research into Hepatitis C.”
The trial has been funded as a pilot through the Chief Scientist’s Office and depending on its success may be expanded to cover a much larger number of patients. Merck Serono KgAA have supplied the high concentration Vitamin D supplements at no charge.