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EASL 2009 highlights: VIREAD® shows long-term safety and efficacy in chronic hepatitis B patients at risk of viral drug resistance new findings on chronic hepatitis B-associated liver cancer support efforts to expand screening

On the occasion of the 44th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), taking place April 22-26 in Copenhagen, new studies will be presented on effectively tackling two major challenges associated with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and liver cancer ? drug-resistance to older generation HBV treatments and better management of liver cancer.

Drug resistance on the rise
In Europe, it has been estimated that one million people become infected with HBV each year1. Although it is possible to treat chronic HBV infection, viral resistance is a major drawback during long-term therapy ? emerging as treatment continues and being most common with lamivudine (LAM)2. M. Manns et al. will present new findings regarding the potent antiviral efficacy of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread®) in patients new to treatment and those previously treated with lamivudine.


 April 25, 08:00-18:00h, Poster Area
Poster presentation: Safety and efficacy of 96 weeks of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) therapy in lamivudine-experienced patients
Principal Investigator: Michael Manns MD, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany
Significant Risk of Liver Cancer in Hepatitis B Patients Without Inflammation
Approximately three-quarters of all liver cancer deaths are attributed to chronic hepatitis B infection worldwide 3. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)4, the third leading cause of death from cancer worldwide.5 The risk of HCC is highest among HBV-infected patients with cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or severe chronic inflammation in the liver, although new findings presented by S.Hiotis show that HCC can also develop in the absence of both. These findings support efforts to optimise prevention and treatment of chronic HBV infection.


 April 24, Parallel session Liver Cancer, Hall E, 16.00-18.00h
Abstract Nr. 22: Assessing the Role of Chronic Hepatocellular Inflammation in Transformation to Cancer among Hepatic Resection Recipients with HBV-Associated HCC.
Principal investigator: Spiros P. Hiotis MD, Depts. of Surgery and Pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY


About Chronic Hepatitis B
Chronic hepatitis B is a common and potentially fatal liver disease caused by HBV, which is up to 100 times more easily transmitted than HIV6. Chronic hepatitis B may produce no symptoms in its earlier stages, meaning many individuals are unaware that they are infected until they have advanced liver disease. Chronic hepatitis B can slowly destroy the liver over years or decades, causing scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver disease or primary liver cancer (such as HCC)7.
In the European region, approximately 90,000 of the 1 million people infected with HBV will go on to develop chronic hepatitis B and more than 20,000 will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer1.


About Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)
Viread® is the newest treatment option for chronic hepatitis B ? it was approved in this indication by the European Commission in April 2008 in all 27 member states of the European Union. It was approved in 2002 in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and has demonstrated its efficacy and safety profile in over 2 million patient years of treatment8. Worldwide, it is the most-prescribed molecule in HIV combination therapy.
About Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company?s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide. Headquartered in Foster City, California, Gilead has operations worldwide. For more on Gilead please visit www.gilead.com.
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1 Van Damme, P et al. Integration of hepatitis B vaccination into national immunisation programmes. BMJ 1997;314:1033
2 Liaw Y, Chu C.Hepatitis B virus infection. Lancet 2009; 373: 582?92
3 Mohandas KM. Hepatitis B associated hepatocellular carcinoma: Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. Hepatitis B
Annual 2004; i(i): 140-152. http://www.hepatitisbannual.org/temp/HepBAnnual11140-4094699_112226.pdf
4 Perz JF et al. The contributions of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections to cirrhosis and primary liver cancer worldwide. J Hepatol 2006; 45: 529?538
5 Parkin DM et al. Global Cancer Statistics. CA Cancer J Clin 2005;55:74?108
6 World Health Organization (WHO). Hepatitis B: Fact Sheet (2004). Revised August 2008. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en.
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis B ? FAQs for Health Professionals. Revised 8 July 2008.http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/HBVfaq.htm#overview
8 P Marcellin et al. Two Year Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF) Treatment and Adefovir Dipivoxil (ADV) Switch Data in HBeAg-Negative Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B (Study 102), slide 4. Oral Presentation # 146 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, October 31-November 4, 2008, San Francisco, CA

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