SYDNEY RESEARCHERS CHAMPION THE FIGHT AGAINST HEPATITIS
Today is World Hepatitis Day. 400 million people around the world are currently living with hepatitis B or C. Each year, we see around 1.4 million people die from viral hepatitis. Researchers at Sydney’s Centenary Institute are working hard to change this.
By improving our understanding of the mechanisms that drive hepatitis, Centenary Institute scientists are working to uncover new ways to treat and prevent the disease. This could save around 4,000 lives each day.
Head of the Liver Injury & Cancer Program at the Centenary Institute, Professor Geoff McCaughan, said the key to fighting hepatitis is to understand it.
“There is currently no vaccination to prevent hepatitis C, and some people don’t respond well to the treatments currently available,” Professor McCaughan said.
“We know that the key mechanism driving hepatitis is inflammation. At the Centenary Institute, we are working to better understand, control and target inflammation, as a means of preventing and treating liver disease.
“If left untreated, hepatitis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer. It is a truly insidious disease and we are determined to tackle it.”
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D and E). Researchers at the Centenary Institute currently have projects specifically looking at Hepatitis B and C. At RPA our researchers lead by Professor McCaughan are endeavouring to turn around patients from the brink of liver transplantation by administering new anti -HCV therapies to patients with HCV related liver failure. Early results are promising with a significant number patients showing reversibility thus potentially decreasing the need for transplantation. Results of this work have been submitted to major national and International meetings and will be presented in late 2015.