Clinical Trials for Natural Hepatitis C Remedy Looking Good
Progressive Alternative Medicine Solution Undergoes Clinical Trials and Holds Promise of Benefiting Millions of Americans with Hepatitis C
Source: HepCare Inc.
An estimated five million Americans have been infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) according to a study published at the Liver Meeting by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in November 2005. Chronic Hepatitis C is associated with significant morbidity (liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma) and mortality. Current treatment is based on interferon and ribavirin. However, treatment options are limited for patients who are not candidates for interferon-based therapy, particularly for those who suffer from HCV genotype 1 infection.
Sho-saiko-to (SST), a standardized herbal formula, is under a clinical phase II trial by a leading New York Cancer Research Institute to determine its effect on Hepatitis C patients. The research group has reported the preliminary results of 15 patients at the 2nd Society of Integrative Oncology Conference in San Diego on November 10, 2005. This study is titled “Sho-saiko-to for Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Who Are Intolerant to or Have Contraindication to Interferon-Based Therapy: A Phase II Study.” SST is know to have anti-fibrotic effect by inhibition of lipid peroxidation in hepatocytes and stellate cells in animal studies. It has also been shown to reduce aminotransferase levels and the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis and liver cirrhosis patients.
According to the design of the clinical trial, 31 patients will receive SST daily for 52 weeks. Fifteen patients have completed the treatment and the preliminary results have been reported. No serious adverse events have been attributed to SST among any patients who enrolled in the trial. Among the 15 patients who completed the study, reductions in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were observed in 11 patients and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in 10 patients. In 10 patients, the liver biopsy showed 20% improvement on histological assessment of the liver. This is consistent with the findings by the Japanese researchers for its anti-inflammatory effect. More interestingly, the majority of the patients whom participated in the clinical trial were genotype 1 infection.