The Centenary Institute has a strong interest in making sure the products of research are used in medical treatment as quickly and safely as possible. And our interest doesn’t stop at the doors of the RPA.
For the past five years, the head of the Institute’s liver unit Professor Geoff McCaughan has led an international working party of experts convened by the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) to revise the guidelines for the study, prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment of hepatitis C in keeping with the most recent research. The latest version of their work has just been published in the journal Hepatology International, and reflects the significant international standing of the Institute’s liver group.
APASL is one of three major liver associations in the world but, because the Asia Pacific region has more cases of chronic hep C than the rest of the world put together, its guidelines are of particular interest and significance. Geoff presented these guidelines in February to more than 1000 delegates at the APASL annual meeting in Taiwan.
Hep C is the major cause of chronic liver disease in the adult population. About 220,000 Australians live with chronic hep C. Nearly a quarter of them are suffering moderate to severe liver disease. And further 11,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for hep C, making any improvements in treatments even more important.
New, more effective drugs are emerging—see previous blog stories:
New hepatitis cure a sign of things to come and
Centenary welcomes approval of new hepatitis C drug
These treatments have not yet become freely available in the Asia Pacific region. They will be introduced over the next two to three years, but this will not be without its challenges, Geoff says. “Because of the rapid development in therapeutics, I suspect we’ll see the next version of these guidelines within three years.”