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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Nov;11(11):1199-202.

Current and evolving therapies for hepatitis C.

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Department of Medicine II, University of Freiburg, Germany.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Therapeutic options for hepatitis C are limited. Standard monotherapy with interferon-alpha leads to a sustained response in only 10-20% of patients. Recent studies have shown improved sustained response rates for the combination of interferon-alpha and ribavirin. Despite these improvements, more effective therapies are needed. A variety of alternative agents are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Recent advances in the molecular virology of hepatitis C have identified specific antiviral targets such as the viral NS3 serine protease, the RNA helicase, and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In addition, gene therapeutic strategies aimed at inhibiting HCV gene expression and replication as well as immunotherapeutic concepts aimed at enhancing the cellular immune response against HCV are being explored in various experimental systems. These and other novel antiviral strategies may complement the existing therapeutic modalities in the future.

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