The new STOP-HCV-1 trial has launched! This exciting new study will recruit patients infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), aiming to optimise and shorten treatment.
More than 300,000 people in the United Kingdom, and 170 million people worldwide, are known to be infected with HCV. Over the last 10 years deaths from end stage liver disease caused by HCV have doubled in the UK.
Recent data suggests the number of infections will double over the next 20 years - emphasizing the importance of a trial such as STOP-HCV-1.
The trial aims to discover which patients may be cured by shorter courses (for some as short as 4 weeks) of therapy and how we might use new techniques in molecular medicine to predict this. At the same time, the trial will also look to test whether the addition of another, older drug (ribavirin) has value in short course treatment.
The benefits of such a study lie in potential results that could show that very short courses of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA) can cure the majority of patients with HCV, avoiding unnecessary cost and inconvenience to both patients and care providers.
The trial expects to recruit just over 400 patients (HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV co-infected). The trial has centres open to recruit patients in England. Discussions are already being held to establish centres in Wales and Scotland later this year.
The project is funded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme, an MRC and NIHR partnership.
The trial is run as part of the STOP-HCV group, a consortium led by Professor Ellie Barnes at the University of Oxford in partnership with the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL. The Chief Investigator is Dr Graham Cooke at Imperial College London.