How new hepatitis C drugs could tackle liver cancer, too
This injectable medication mimics a protein the body naturally produces to fight off infections. But few people were treated with it as the drugs weren’t always effective, had side-effects ranging from fatigue to depression and had to be taken for 24–48 weeks.
The natural history of chronic hepatitis C (cirrhosis, liver failure and primary liver cancer) and an ageing population means without major improvements in hepatitis C treatment uptake and outcomes there would be a poor outlook. We would expect to see a large burden of advanced liver disease in Australia over the next decade.
Direct-acting antivirals make a difference
Fortunately, direct-acting antiviral therapies and the move towards interferon-free oral treatments have revolutionised how we treat hepatitis C.
Direct-acting antiviral drugs work by blocking the action of specific proteins or enzymes in the hepatitis C virus, which are essential for the virus to replicate and infect liver cells.