John Rice, MD, assistant professor (CHS), Gastroenterology and Heptatology, gave his perspective about a clinical study at the University of Pennsylvania.
Researchers in Pennsylvania transplanted organs infected with hepatitis C into uninfected patients who were aware that the donors had the virus and agreed to the transplantation.
The transplant recipients were then treated with new hepatitis C medications in order to cure them of the disease. All 10 patients in the study are now hepatitis C-free.
“I think [this approach] is going to happen, and I think it is a good idea,” said Dr. Rice, noting the 95- to 98-percent effectiveness of the medications.
In light of 119,000 patients on the national transplant wait list, using organs from infected individuals could alleviate organ shortage - but with a retail cost of the antiviral medications as high as $85,000, insurance coverage “is a complicated problem,” said Dr. Rice.
- "Use of hepatitis C infected organs could reduce transplant wait lists," WISC-TV, May 15, 2017