New research study benefits patients waiting for liver transplants

A clinical study at University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is assessing patients who have advanced liver disease from hepatitis C (HCV). Although all these patients were identified as candidates for liver transplantation, early findings show that up to 33% of these patients can be removed from the transplant waiting list.

Dr. Paul Marotta and Dr. Bandar Al-Judaibi reported at the Canadian Digestive Diseases Week 2016 meeting in Montreal that oral anti-viral (sofosbuvir-based) treatment improved some patients’ severity scores so significantly that they could be removed from the liver transplant list.

This is the first Canadian data to demonstrate the benefit of treating and curing patients with HCV who need a liver transplant. Not only will this new treatment save them from the needing a transplant, but it also allows the scarce resource of donor organs to go to other patients who are waiting.

“For years, severe liver disease from chronic hepatitis C has been the most common indication for liver transplantation not only in Canada, but worldwide.” says Dr. Marotta, Medical Director of Liver Transplantation, LHSC. “Our early results show that this new treatment strategy is exceedingly well tolerated with an excellent safety profile and high efficacy. Removing patients from the liver transplant list is an incredible outcome of this study, as we are able to save available livers for other patients in urgent need.”

“We hope that broadening the sample size across Canada may establish the true impact of this strategy, not only in saving health care dollars, but most importantly saving lives without the need for liver transplantation.” added Dr. Al-Judaibi, Transplant Hepatologist.