New test touted for Hepatitis C victims

April 27, 2006

Rockville, Md.-based Celera Genomics said Wednesday it has developed a genetic test to help determine which Hepatitis C sufferers are at greatest risk.

The test that focuses on seven genes is intended to predict which of the nearly 4 million U.S. residents with Hepatitis C are most likely to develop cirrhosis or cancer, and those that can avoid the estimated $30,000 annual cost to take drug cocktails.

"The current therapies to treat hepatitis C are fairly noxious," Dr. Scott Friedman of Mount Sinai School of Medicine told The New York Times.

"One of the tough decisions we face as clinicians is who should be treated with current antiviral therapies and who can afford to wait," said Friedman, who collaborated with Celera in devising the genetic test.

Celera President Kathy Ordonez said the company hopes to license the test to a laboratory by the end of the year.

Celera planned to introduce its test Friday to a Vienna meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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