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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects the liver, where it causes significant inflammation, damage and disruption of normal liver function. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 3 to 4 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C every year.

The hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected individual and, most commonly, people catch it through sharing contaminated needles when injecting illegal drugs.

Hepatitis C infection is categorized into an acute and a chronic stage. The acute phase describes the first 6 months of infection when there are not necessarily any symptoms. Around one quarter of people manage to clear the infection during this stage before disease progresses to the chronic stage.

People who go on to develop chronic hepatitis C may develop jaundice which turns the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. This is caused by the build-up of a yellow-colored substance in the blood called bilirubin that would usually be broken down by the liver if it was healthy. Chronic infection may eventually cause fibrosis and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, liver cancer or end stage liver failure.

Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medications that that are designed to disrupt the multiplication of virus particles inside the body and prevent liver damage.
A test to evaluate Hepatitis B therapy launched by Quest Diagnostics

A test to evaluate Hepatitis B therapy launched by Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, today announced the launch of a new test service that helps physicians evaluate a patient’s response to drug therapies used to treat infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The first test of its kind available in the United States, the test is significant because it may help physicians tailor more effective treatments for the up to 2.2 million individuals infected with HBV. [More]
MGH-developed CTC-iChip with digital PCR assay improves detection of early-stage liver cancer

MGH-developed CTC-iChip with digital PCR assay improves detection of early-stage liver cancer

Use of an advanced form of the commonly used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to analyze circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may greatly increase the ability to diagnose early-stage cancer, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. [More]
Research findings could lead to development of novel therapeutic approaches against viral infections

Research findings could lead to development of novel therapeutic approaches against viral infections

Life is a question of balance, and the body is no exception. Expression levels of certain proteins can affect the immune system's ability to neutralize a virus. [More]
New report reveals 25% drop in overall cancer death rate in the U.S.

New report reveals 25% drop in overall cancer death rate in the U.S.

A steady decline over more than two decades has resulted in a 25% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States. The drop equates to 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2014. [More]
Study identifies factors linked to disengagement from treatment for opioid use disorder

Study identifies factors linked to disengagement from treatment for opioid use disorder

Individuals with opioid use disorder who are treated with buprenorphine, a commonly prescribed drug to treat addiction, are more likely to disengage from treatment programs if they are black or Hispanic, unemployed, or have hepatitis C according to a study published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. [More]
Scientists develop novel nanoparticle-based method to deliver DNA vaccine

Scientists develop novel nanoparticle-based method to deliver DNA vaccine

Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a novel method for delivering therapeutic molecules into cells. [More]
Revolutionary approach could save lives of sickest patients waiting for liver transplant

Revolutionary approach could save lives of sickest patients waiting for liver transplant

There's new hope for patients with liver disease who are waiting for a donor liver to become available for transplantation. [More]
Initial rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often invisible to others, survey reveals

Initial rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often invisible to others, survey reveals

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that affects approximately 1.3 million individuals in the U.S. Unlike the more common osteoarthritis, RA is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. [More]
Type 2 diabetes linked to long list of complications that can affect health and quality of life

Type 2 diabetes linked to long list of complications that can affect health and quality of life

T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals living with type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes. [More]
ECDC: 1 in 7 HIV-infected people in the EU/EEA unaware of disease status

ECDC: 1 in 7 HIV-infected people in the EU/EEA unaware of disease status

With 29 747 newly reported HIV infections in 2015, the EU/EEA notification rate is similar to recent years with an overall insignificant change from 6.6 per 100 000 population in 2006 to 6.3 in 2015 (adjusted for reporting delay). [More]
Research provides insight into molecular mechanisms involved in immune response to HBV

Research provides insight into molecular mechanisms involved in immune response to HBV

The innate immune system in mammals defends against infection from viruses and other microbial infections. [More]
New public-private partnership launches major health effort to reduce cancer in San Francisco

New public-private partnership launches major health effort to reduce cancer in San Francisco

Cancer is the leading cause of death in San Francisco and costs patients, families and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. [More]
Molecules team up to maintain healthy level of fat in liver, study finds

Molecules team up to maintain healthy level of fat in liver, study finds

As obesity rates rise in the United States, so does the incidence of liver diseases. [More]
Study finds way to increase liver cancer screening rates among at-risk cirrhosis patients

Study finds way to increase liver cancer screening rates among at-risk cirrhosis patients

Proactive outreach to cirrhosis patients in a safety net health system successfully doubled their screening rates for liver cancer, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found. [More]
Hepatitis C virus sabotages antiviral defenses of liver cells by blunting effect of immune proteins

Hepatitis C virus sabotages antiviral defenses of liver cells by blunting effect of immune proteins

The virus that causes hepatitis C protects itself by blocking signals that call up immune defenses in liver cells, according to University of Washington researchers and colleagues reporting Nov. 14 in Nature Medicine. [More]
Psoriatic arthritis patients experience multiple symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult, survey reveals

Psoriatic arthritis patients experience multiple symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult, survey reveals

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory condition closely related to and most often co-occurring with psoriasis. [More]
Suppressed vaginal immune response makes women more susceptible to RNA viruses

Suppressed vaginal immune response makes women more susceptible to RNA viruses

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes discovered that the vaginal immune system is suppressed in response to RNA viruses, such as Zika. [More]
Eminent physician Kenneth Walker receives Georgia Hospital Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award

Eminent physician Kenneth Walker receives Georgia Hospital Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award

Grady Health System Assistant Chief of Internal Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine Professor H. Kenneth Walker, M.D., was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Georgia Hospital Association's (GHA) Annual Meeting on Nov. 11. [More]
HCV patients treated with DAA therapy not at increased risk of developing liver cancer, study finds

HCV patients treated with DAA therapy not at increased risk of developing liver cancer, study finds

A new study presented this week at The Liver Meeting — held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases — found patients with hepatitis C who take direct-acting antiviral medication are at no higher risk for developing liver cancer than those who do not take the medication. [More]
Particular eating behaviors linked to lower odds of developing liver diseases

Particular eating behaviors linked to lower odds of developing liver diseases

Particular eating behaviors may lower the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to research presented this week at The Liver Meeting — held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. [More]
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