I am a 57-year-old white American male infected with Hepatitis C. I am involved in a controlled medical research study by Roche Pharmaceuticals of an experimental Polymerase Inhibitor (RO5024048 also known as RG7128) drug therapy for the virus. This document is the story of my illness and the experience of treatment. My lovely and pretty damn wonderful wife will be contributing her take on the experience as well.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 4 Results: The Future’s So Bright….

The Polymerase Inhibitor seems like a very promising compound, at least from the viewpoint of someone infected with Hepatitis C.

I do not know officially that I am getting the RO5024048 experimental drug. My assumption is based entirely on the viral load results and the fact that AVB, the study coordinator has told me that her 14 years of experience in managing trials and watching the results of those trials, she has not seen Viral Response at that level unless there is something acting in addition the standard Interferon and Ribavirin.

But given my results and her gut feeling, I think that I am receiving it and that it is working tremendously well at inhibiting the reproduction of the Hep C virus.
My viral load after 28 days in treatment is now at a level of 195 IU per milliliter of blood.

195 viruses per milliliter is a log 4.82 reduction from the baseline level at the beginning of the test. It is also beginning to get near the non-detectable level that indicates the body is clearing the virus from the blood.

This is great news as it might mean number of things moving forward if these results hold up. It could mean a much higher percentage of patients with a sustained viral response (SVR). It could mean that the treatment time could be reduced in length which would mean a major reduction in the level of suffering endured by patients undergoing treatment. It could mean variations in the levels of drugs administered which might again have an effect on the level of side effects that must be endured.
There is even a study in the proposal stage that would involve treatment using a combination of Polymerase and Protease inhibitors and no Interferon or Ribavirin. If that sort of treatment became a reality, then future patients with Hep C might never have to undergo the joys of Interferon and Ribavirin side effects.

All of this is extremely speculative and primarily the result of me being way too happy and perhaps overreacting to my person viral load results. But considering where Hep C treatment was 10 years ago, and the exciting new avenues of research opening up seemingly on a weekly basis, the future is indeed so bright we gotta wear shades.

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