June 27, 2013

Nigeria partners MSD, FSRC to battle hepatitis C

Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00 By Tony Nwanne

AHEAD the World Hepatitis Day which comes up in July 28, international medical firms has beginning to focus more on Africa, most especially Nigeria, to continually create awareness and to also support Nigeria in eradicating the deadly disease in the country.

The firms, Focus Scientific Research Center (FSRC), a physician-led team of researchers, in association with the program sponsor MSD, a global healthcare leader, and a range of collaborators both regional and international, are currently working on an initiative in Nigeria to create awareness about hepatitis with the main focus on HCV.

The stakeholders, who arrived Lagos, Nigeria, last week to brainstorm on programs ahead the World Hepatitis Day, titled “Hepatitis in Africa - Call for Action”, intends to raise disease awareness among the relevant stakeholders in the region, strengthen the existing structures on ground to making sure that the disease is brought to the nearest minimal.

Speaking at the event, the Regional Director Market Access Hospital and Specialty Care, Vivian Mendonca, MSD, noted that the objectives of the program includes engaging and building a relationship with scientific leaders, patient representatives and ministry of health officials from each country to form a regional expert group, and developing national and regional activity plans.

According to Mendonca, “the initiative intends to lay the foundation for the development of country-specific activity roadmaps with the involvement of local stakeholders for effective management of HCV. We want to continually raise the awareness on the burden of Hepatitis C in sub-Sahara Africa among stakeholders”.

While the stakeholders in the health industry brainstormed against the deadly disease, it tends to engage and build a relationship among scientific leaders, patient representatives and ministry of health officials from the participating countries to develop national and regional activity plans.

During the event medical experts will forge a way to combat against HCV ranging from clinicians, physician body representatives, patient groups and policy makers were converging to take a unified call for a plan of action towards hepatitis policy formation to battle Hepatitis C.

Meanwhile, among the participating countries were Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, while Nigeria played the host.

In the same vein, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, who commended the efforts of the two firms added that the World Hepatitis Day by the World Health Organization is mandated to create health awareness days ahead to herald the growing international awareness of hepatitis as a global health care issue. “This realization is one that cannot come too soon, as several aspects of hepatitis characterize it as one of the most serious infectious disease challenges facing public health care today.”

Amongst the viral hepatitis concerns is the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This brings unique challenges like an acute phase that is generally asymptomatic and under-diagnosed; a chronic phase with a long latency period before development of life threatening, difficult to treat complications; genetic polymorphism and the lack of a vaccine. Globally over 185 million people are believed to be afflicted with HCV. In Africa alone, the WHO estimates that the prevalence is 5.3 per cent.

Focus Scientific Research Center (FSRC) of phamax AG is a physician led group of researchers who believe that healthcare issues in high growth economies can only be effectively solved through a combined effort between private, public and academic sectors.

Today’s MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD demonstrates her commitments to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.


Melatonin Fights Liver Cancer According to New Studies


Maximizing melatonin production in humans is possible by blocking blue light for a few hours before bedtime by wearing amber eyeglasses according to Richard L. Hansler PhD of Photonic Developments LLC. This may be of benefit in avoiding or treating liver cancer.

University Heights, OH (PRWEB) June 27, 2013

A new paper from Thailand (1) shows that melatonin improves the outcome when liver cancer is induced in hamsters. A new study (2) from Spain found that melatonin blocked the processes that control the development of new blood vessels needed for the liver cancer to grow. These studies help explain the 1999 study (3) from France that found that exposing rats to continuous light greatly increased the fraction of rats who developed liver cancer when given a carcinogen compared to those raised in normal 12 hours light 12 hous dark. Continuous light prevents the production of melatonin. This also may explain why the odds are about double of getting colon cancer, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer for men working night shift according to a new paper (4) from Canada. Liver cancer was not included in this study. Working nights reduces the production of melatonin due to exposure to light.

In 2005, physicists at John Carroll University developed light bulbs that don’t produce blue light and amber eyeglasses that eliminate blue light. In 2001, it had been shown that it is primarily the blue rays in ordinary white light that suppress the production of melatonin--the sleep promoting, cancer fighting hormone. These products are available at http://www.lowbluelights.com along with filters for TV and computer screens including iPads and iPhones. Thousands of people have bought these products with a guarantee of money back if they don’t help. About 90% find they help them sleep. Possibly reducing the risk of cancer comes as a free bonus. Contact Dr. Richard L. Hansler at rhansler(at)jcu(dot)edu or call 216-397-1657

Pineal Res. 2013 May 22. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12068. [Epub ahead of print]
Melatonin inhibits cholangiocarcinoma and reduces liver injury in Opisthorchis viverrini-infected and N-nitrosodimethylamine-treated hamsters.
Umawadee L, Porntip P, Patcharee B, Chawalit P, Aroonsri P, Johns Nutjaree P, Lakhanawan C, Kitti I, Somchai P.

Br J Cancer. 2013 Jun 11. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.285. [Epub ahead of print]
Inhibition of VEGF expression through blockade of Hif1α and STAT3 signalling mediates the anti-angiogenic effect of melatonin in HepG2 liver cancer cells.
Carbajo-Pescador S, Ordoñez R, Benet M, Jover R, García-Palomo A, Mauriz JL, González-Gallego J.

Life Sci. 1999;64(26):2523-34.
The tumor promoting effect of constant light exposure on diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats.
van den Heiligenberg S, Deprés-Brummer P, Barbason H, Claustrat B, Reynes M, Lévi F.

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Nov 1;176(9):751-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws318. Epub 2012 Oct 3.
Night work and the risk of cancer among men.
Parent MÉ, El-Zein M, Rousseau MC, Pintos J, Siemiatycki J.


Red Door Communications - World Hepatitis Day 2012

Promotional Feature

prweek.com, Thursday, 27 June 2013, 1:56pm


500 million people globally live with either chronic hepatitis B or C.  Whilst that’s higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, the disease is hugely underfunded, with thousands remaining undiagnosed. On a personal level, the disease is too often ignored and shrouded in stigma.

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes place on July 28th and is one of four days recognised by the World Health Organisation, aiming to raise awareness of the disease amongst a global community.

The World Hepatitis Alliance wanted a campaign that could be taken up by 100 local groups, was scalable to their needs, and meaningful in all contexts.

By raising awareness among the public the Alliance wanted to prevent new infections and deliver real improvements in health outcomes for people with hepatitis B and C.

The Alliance also wanted to widen access to treatment and lessen the stigma around viral hepatitis by highlighting the prevalence and indiscriminate nature of the disease. Above all the campaign needed to inspire action: know it, confront it, and get tested.

Any potential pitfalls you needed to take into account?

The previous year’s campaign ‘Am I number 12?’ successfully engaged 81 groups around the world, but there was potential to engage more groups to ensure unified action.

In addition, with an average of 3,402 visitors per month to the Alliance website during the previous year’s campaign, the challenge was also set to engage with more audiences online than ever before and look at ways to target audiences in developing countries such as Africa, where viral hepatitis is extremely prevalent and access to the internet is limited.

OK and what was your grand plan to tackle this?

Red Door Communications developed a campaign that sought pro-active engagement and directly communicated the stark reality of hepatitis; with the strap-line - `it’s closer than you think’.

Ten hard-hitting posters were developed communicating the impact of the disease and practical toolkits to implement a local campaign. All were developed in seven languages and distributed to the Alliance’s 193 member countries.

Community engagement was key - so we designed a Guinness World Record attempt for ‘the most number of individuals performing the gestures of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" in a 24 hour period’. These actions were based on the proverb known as the three wise monkeys who cover their eyes, ears and mouth to avoid uncomfortable truths.

This created a striking visual of the denial in which hepatitis is shrouded. To achieve the record, 25 people at ten different locations needed to perform the actions. The event was supported by a Twitter campaign and Facebook app.

A pilot SMS campaign to drive people to get tested was developed with mobile network providers in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

Sounds good - What outcome did all this have on your client’s business?

107 patient groups participated in the campaign compared to 81 from the previous year. Traffic to the Alliance website increased by 14.6% compared with 10% in the same period in 2011.

The Twitter campaign asked people to tweet photos of themselves performing the ‘three wise monkeys’ poses.  These were posted to #seehearspeakno and automatically uploaded into an online gallery linked to the World Hepatitis Alliance website, Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Automatic replies were sent to each tweet to thank users and to let them know about their nearest Guinness World Record venue to drive attendance. 1.7 million tweets were posted and measured through the hashtag. 12,588 people participated in the Guiness World Record in 42 locations around the world.

The SMS text-blasting campaign reached 1.45 million people and a staggering 24.5% of people in South Africa texted back to receive more information.

Impressive - Any gems of wisdom you learned from working on this that you’d like to pass on?

Twitter was a great way to engage people with the live Guinness World Record attempt and even received spontaneous celebrity endorsement from famous names such as Sadie Frost, Boy George, and Fat Boy Slim who posted photos to help raise the profile of the campaign.

Building an auto-tweet system was a very effective way of communicating essential public health information. Every time a tweet included a mention of the hashtag, a response was sent back to the user to thank them for getting involved and to provide additional information about the wider World Hepatitis Day campaign.

Establishing partnerships with Mobile Network Operators in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa allowed dissemination of important SMS messages to millions of people in areas where a greater health need exists.


HCV triple therapy post-liver transplant yields moderate response, significant adverse events

Provided by Healio

Pungpapong S. Liver Transpl. 2013;19:690-700.

June 27, 2013

Liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C experienced moderate early response rates but frequent side effects from triple therapy with antivirals in a recent study.

Researchers evaluated 60 liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV genotype 1 and significant fibrosis who underwent treatment with pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin (PEG/RBV) and either telaprevir (TVR) (n=35) or boceprevir (BOC) (n=25), with a minimum follow-up of 12 weeks (mean follow-up, 35 weeks). Most patients were successfully placed on immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine before treatment initiation, including 33 TVR patients and 23 BOC patients.

The TVR cohort was assigned 12 weeks of TVR and PEG/RBV followed by PEG/RBV alone for 36 weeks, and those in the BOC group received 4 weeks of lead-in with PEG/RBV followed by 44 weeks of PEG/RBV with BOC.

Undetectable HCV RNA levels were observed in 86% of TVR recipients (mean, 6 weeks), compared with 48% of BOC patients (mean, 11 weeks). After 24 weeks of treatment, undetectable RNA without viral breakthrough had occurred in 67% of the TVR group and 45% of the BOC group in intention-to-treat analysis. Upon completion of follow-up, undetectable RNA remained in 27 TVR cases and 11 BOC recipients.

One patient in each group died during therapy. Cytopenias were common in both groups, and all participants required either hematological growth factor administration or dose reductions of peginterferon and/or ribavirin. Biopsy-proven acute rejection occurred in two TVR patients and none of the BOC recipients during treatment. Infectious complications occurred in six TVR cases but were treated and resolved without interruption.

“Our study has produced some important insights into the management of immunosuppression while patients are on these medications and into the frequency and severity of adverse events, as well as early virological response data,” the researchers wrote. “We have demonstrated that TVR- or BOC-containing antiviral protocols can be used after transplantation and result in moderately successful early virological responses, but these regimens are associated with important toxicities that mitigate their potential benefit.”