Dr. Carme Baliellas leads a HUB research project on HCV recurrence after liver transplantation

Dr. Carme Baliellas, Specialist physician of the HUB Gastroenterology Service, is the main researcher of the research project Interleukin 28B and HCV recurrence after liver transplantation in patients without steroids and randomized to receive cyclosporine or tacrolimus , which has been funded this year with € 23,858 from the Health Research Fund (FIS) of the Health Institute Carlos III.

Along with Dr. Baliellas will participate in this study, Dr. Juan Fabregat (Liver Transplant Unit), Dr. Anna Petit (Pathology Department) and Dr. Pedro Alia (Clinical Laboratory), in collaboration with the other professionals in the Research Group in liver transplantation at our center.

Approximately 50% of people who receive a liver transplant are carriers of hepatitis C virus (HCV). The main problem of this transplant is currently the risk of this virus infecting the new organ. Thus, up to 30% of transplanted patients have developed cirrhosis within five years.

In parallel, researches in non-transplanted HCV carriers have shown that genetic polymorphism of the interleukin 28B relates to the response of these patients to antiviral treatment, so that detection can help predict the response and modulate the treatment.

The purpose of this research is to collect blood samples or tissue from donors and recipients of 150 liver transplants, making genetic studies, and linking the presence of this polymorphism in the donor or the recipient with the aggressiveness of the recurrence of hepatitis, the response of patients to antiviral therapy, and the type of immunosuppressive drug administered to the patient (cyclosporine or tacrolimus).

Results are expected to help better understand the relationship of this genetic marker with HCV and make more accurate clinical decisions both in terms of immunosuppressive drugs as well as specifying in which cases may be indicated or not to initiate HCV therapy and with what intensity and length.

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