Successful hepatitis C (HCV) treatment before a liver transplant markedly reduced the risk of re-infection, a researcher said here.

Without treatment, HCV re-infection of the transplanted liver is "universal," according to Michael Curry, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

But 64% of patients successfully treated with the investigational agent sofosbuvir along with the standard medication ribavirin remained virus-free 12 weeks after the transplant, Curry reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

The only predictor for success, he said, was a period of at least 30 days in a row before transplant when HCV could not be detected in the patient.

Curry was also an author on a bookend study, presented earlier at this meeting, that showed that the same agents delivered after transplant can also improve outcomes.

Taken together, the studies hold out hope for HCV patients who need a new liver, commented Michael Fried, MD, of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, who was not part of the study.

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