Published February 5, 2013
Andrew Talal, MD, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, presented his research at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
During a presidential plenary session at the Liver Meeting, Talal discussed his research on hepatitis C virus infection, one of the most common causes of liver disease and the leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States.
“A major limitation in our understanding of the pathogenesis of the infection has been the difficulty in sampling the liver,” explains Talal, professor of medicine.
His study addresses this issue by evaluating the relationship between the virus’ behavior in the liver compared to blood plasma.
Talal’s findings suggest new models by which the virus may be replicating in the liver.
“For example,” he says, “they suggest that the newly approved drug for hepatitis C—telaprevir—may effectively decrease the level of the virus during the first few days after starting therapy, but the body’s immune response is later required to clear the virus.”
Alternatively, the level of virus replication in the liver may differ in different parts of the liver.
“Differentiating between these two hypotheses will be the study of future research and is important to understanding the factors that contribute to the eradication of the virus after antiviral therapy,” he says.
The Liver Meeting draws more than 8,000 hepatologists and health professionals from around the world each year, offering a forum for sharing and learning cutting-edge research and current practice recommendations.