The patient's perspective
When John found out that he had hepatitis C he was told that he’d probably had the hepatitis C virus for about 12 to 14 years. He was completely unaware of the disease and had no idea how he caught it. It wasn’t until he started suffering from exhaustion that John went to see his GP and was diagnosed with the virus straight away.
In 2004 he took part in a clinical research study at King’s College Hospital which aimed to remove the virus from his body with a treatment programme involving interferon. John experienced some nasty side effects and then, halfway through, the treatment was abandoned as John was deemed a “non-responder”. Statistically, there was only ever a 70% chance of success.
John was willing to give anything a try but with no other treatment available at the time it was a matter of waiting and hoping. Then, in early 2013 his consultant at Kings College Hospital invited him to take part in a second study looking at an innovative new drug therapy – one that has since changed his life.
After taking part in the Turquoise-II study John was clear of the virus. Almost one year on, and he is still clear. His next set of tests in August 2014 will determine if John is cured for good.
*Update* John received his last set of results on 19 August 2014. He’s officially clear of the Hepatits C virus.
Amelia found out that she had hepatitis C in 2004 after donating blood. Until that point she had no idea. She suspects that she acquired the virus from a navel piercing, although she can’t be sure.
Shortly after being diagnosed, in 2004, Amelia took part in a clinical research study and received a combined treatment of interferon and ribavirin for six months. Post treatment she was initially found to be clear of the virus. But one month into the follow up period the virus was detected again. The treatment had failed.
Amelia has been lucky so far as she’s suffered very little damage to her liver. But with no other treatment available, and a family to think about, Amelia is understandably concerned about her health in the long term. So when she was offered the opportunity to take part in a second clinical research study looking at a new type of drug she jumped at the chance.
At the end of the trial Amelia was clear of the virus. She’s hopeful that this time she’ll stay clear.
Theo is 50. He found out in 2012 that he has probably had the hepatitis C virus for over 30 years. It wasn’t until he began to experience a series of health problems that he was diagnosed. Until that point he was completely unaware of the disease.
In 2013 Theo commenced treatment to try and eradicate the virus from his body. His therapy combined interferon with Ribovirin and, like many, Theo experienced some nasty side effects. But half way through the treatment it was abandoned by the medical professionals as it was deemed ineffective. Only seven in every 10 patients respond well to this type of treatment and, unfortunately, Theo wasn’t one of those seven.
With no other treatment available on the NHS, Theo was left worrying about his future and wondering how long it might be before a new type of treatment might be offered. Later that year he received a phone call from his clinician inviting him to take part in a clinical research study looking at one such therapy – one that is proving to be up to 95% effective.
Theo tolerated the new treatment well and immediately after taking part in the BOSON study he was clear of the virus, and then again one month after finishing the treatment programme. It’s early days and there are more tests to do at three and six months, but Theo is optimistic about his future.