The Hepatitis C related cirrhosis is one of the most devastating chronic viral infections in the world. Now, a newly discovered gene called ‘PNPLA3’ may give clues to which patients will benefit from their treatment and which patients won’t.
An estimated 71 million people have Chronic Hepatitis C infection. Doctors have found a remarkably new way of predicting whether or not patients will respond to Hepatitis C related cirrhosis treatment. According to estimates, more than 5% of the patients of Hepatitis C have already experienced extensive liver damage which is known as decompensated cirrhosis. While medications for Hepatitis C induced Cirrhosis is available and widely used to treat patients. Sadly, only a small percentage of patients with Hepatitis C actually get better after treatment, while the condition of the remaining patients could get worse despite being treated. This is where the new research comes in. Winston Dunn, MD, looked at genetic factors that can predict which patient will improve after treatment of decompensated Hepatitis C, and which patients will not. The PNPLA3 gene that has been identified by Dr. Dunn can predict which patients do well after treatment. Since the treatment that patients receive for Hepatitis C may sometimes not be enough if they have decompensated cirrhosis, and if their liver has been damaged significantly, the newly discovered PNPLA3 gene can enable clinicians to predict who is going to recover.