Chronic Hepatitis C Controlled with MicroRNA-Based Treatment — Physician’s First Watch
Chronic Hepatitis C Controlled with MicroRNA-Based Treatment
By Joe Elia
At least temporary control of hepatitis C has been achieved with use of a microRNA-based therapy, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study. (MicroRNAs are small pieces of RNA that can suppress cellular functions.)
In a phase 2 trial sponsored and partially conducted by the therapy's developer, researchers used miravirsen to block microRNA miR-122, which is native to the liver and necessary for viral replication of hepatitis C. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 36 patients used varying doses of miravirsen given over 29 days.
After 18 weeks' follow-up, levels of hepatitis C RNA had fallen significantly in all treated patients, but not the controls. At the higher dosages, viral RNA levels showed maximum drops of a thousandfold and were undetectable in some individuals. Viral levels did, however, begin to rise again after treatment.