Hope for Hep C cure: No excuse for risk-taking, expert warns

Professor Geoff McCaughan

Exciting early indications of a cure for Hepatitis C do not mean we should become complacent about the risks of contracting the debilitating disease, a leading Australian researcher warns.

Professor Geoff McCaughan, right, head of the Liver Immunobiology Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute of medical research, says preliminary results of a newly developed oral treatment regime for liver transplant patients with Hepatitis C were showing promising results.

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Centenary scientist named “lab legend” by The Australian

In South-East Asia alone, 130 million people carry the hepatitis virus – a statistic well known to Centenary liver scientist, Dr Thomas Tu, whose family members have been affected by the disease.

Vietnam 2010 600 (2)In an article by The Australian today, Dr Tu explains, “seeing people with the disease has been a driver in keeping me passionate about my research. Family members have contracted the disease, but no one talks about it. They are worried about telling workmates because of the stigma.”

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Liver disease: obesity and alcohol is a deadly combination

Liver Disease

Professor McCaughan believes you should “love your liver”.

The deadly exponential effect of the combination of obesity and alcohol, can increase the likelihood of liver disease in women, a new study has found.

Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of Centenary Institute’s Liver Injury and Cancer group, has recently commented on the findings of a new study that found overweight women who drink regularly, have a much higher risk of liver disease. Frighteningly, researchers believe these findings could also apply to men.

The research was based on a study of more than 107,000 UK women, which showed that the chance of developing liver disease is increased by both drinking and being overweight. However, when these factors were combined, the women in the study were three times more likely to develop liver disease.

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Preventable liver disease costs more than diabetes

Sydney team hopes to reduce the burden with research-led intervention

Professor Geoff McCaughan

Professor Geoff McCaughan

Liver diseases have an impact on the Australian economy 40 per cent greater than chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes combined, according to a report released today.

The report estimates the annual burden of liver diseases in Australia at more than $50 billion. And yet almost all liver disease is preventable.

The Centenary Institute’s liver research unit is one of the biggest in Australia. It is also one of first in the world to try to come to grips with liver damage at its most fundamental molecular level.

Head of research into liver disease and damage at Centenary, Professor Geoff McCaughan, and his team are focusing their research on promoting liver health, and understanding how chronic liver damage can develop into liver cancer. Continue reading

Broadening the possibilities for liver transplantation

Geoff McCaughn

Prof Geoff McCaughan will be speaking at world’s largest liver conference.

Research opens the advantages of organ transfer to wider groups of people, including heart patients and reformed addicts.

People on methadone programs or with certain forms of heart disease are among liver patients who could now benefit from transplantation, Professor Geoff McCaughan head of the Centenary Institute’s Liver Injury and Cancer research program will tell the world’s largest annual conference of liver specialists in Boston today.

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Dr Devanshi Seth ready to test the genes of thousands of drinkers

Dr Devanshi Seth, Group Leader, Alcoholic Liver Disease

Dr Devanshi Seth, Group Leader, Alcoholic Liver Disease, Liver Injury & Cancer

Centenary’s Dr Devanshi Seth, a researcher who works in the liver lab and who also works at RPA’s Drug Health Services has given an in-depth interview about her work on heavy drinking and liver cirrhosis in the online magazine femail.com.au.

Dr Devanshi and her colleagues are soon to start testing the genes of hundreds of Sydney-siders and thousands of others across six countries with the support of the grant from the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The US government is investing $2.5 million in a Sydney-based study to determine the role of genetics in alcoholic liver disease. The study, should lead to better diagnosis and treatment of the condition – a silent epidemic that costs $3.8 billion a year in Australia alone.

To read the full interview, please click here.

Read more about Dr Devanshi Seth’s work and how the US Government is backing this new study.

Progress in hepatitis C treatment is astonishing

Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of Centenary’s liver program.

Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of Centenary’s liver program.

Prof Geoff McCaughan has an editorial in today’s Medical Journal of Australia saying that hepatitis C therapy is undergoing radical and rapid change. He predicts that within five years we will have short-duration anti-hepatitis C therapy with minimal side-effects and cure rates above 90%.

The burden of hepatitis C (HCV) associated liver failure and liver cancer is rising so these new drugs are just in time.

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Centenary welcomes approval of new hepatitis C drug

Professor Geoff McCaughan, Head of the Liver Immunobiology Group

Professor Geoff McCaughan, Head of Centenary's Liver Immunobiology Group

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved the hepatitis C medication, Victrelis. There are about 217,000 Australians living with chronic hepatitis C. Victrelis has been found to be suitable for the treatment of 40 per cent of patients. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine, making better treatments more important.

The Head of the Centenary Institute’s liver unit, Professor Geoff McCaughan, says the approval is a major breakthrough for patients.
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