In December 2012 the MRC awarded £5.15 million to establish STOP-HCV, a consortium designed to use stratified medicine to optimise the treatment of patients with Hepatitis C Virus infection. A further £6.25 million has been contributed by the consortium's industrial partners.
What is stratified medicine?
Stratified (or personalised) medicine is a new approach to scientific research and medical care. By organising patients into different groups - depending on their disease characteristics or response to treatment - more effective treatment regimes can be tailored.
What is HCV?
HCV (Hepatitis C virus) can infect and damage the liver. More than 300,000 people in the United Kingdom, and 170 million people worldwide, are known to be infected with the virus. In the last decade deaths from end stage liver disease caused by HCV have doubled in the UK and this is projected to further increase over the next 20 years.
How will stratification help in treatment of Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a disease where stratification already plays a role in patient care. Patients can be grouped into those who eliminate virus and those who do not, with both established and new therapies. HCV viral genotype, viral load, stage of liver disease, HIV co-infection and host genomics are some of the key strata already known to influence therapeutic outcomes.
What is the purpose of STOP-HCV?
Although stratification currently plays a crucial role in patient care, much is still unknown regarding how patients will respond to new and current treatments available for Hepatitis C. STOP-HCV is using cutting-edge technologies to identify markers within samples of patients infected with Hepatitis C Virus in order to optimise treatment for patients with this disease.
The primary aims of STOP-HCV are:
- to derive patient stratification models to enhance clinical decision making and thereby achieve maximum effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of theapeutic regimes
- to understand disease mechanisms that define patient strata so that rational therapeutic approaches can be developed and deployed.
STOP-HCV is working closely with HCV Research UK - an initiative launched in early 2013. HCV Research UK is currently recruiting HCV infected patients to establish a state-of-the-art clinical database and a biorepository of samples for use in research.
The website will be kept up to date with progress of the consortium, so please keep an eye on our project updates pages for latest news.