Hepatitis B Antigens are Attacked by Immureboost and they Go Negative

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Similar reduction to normalcy was observed with two other markers of hepatitis, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin. Separately, three patients who were Hepatitis B antigen positive became negative after V1 therapy.

Normalization of Elevated Liver Enzymes due to V-1 Immureboost Therapy

Immureboost presented a product at the Therapies for Viral Hepatitis Symposium to Boston Scientists. The Immureboost Company presented poster "Normalization of Elevated Liver Enzymes due to V-1 Immureboost Therapy" at the international symposium Therapies for Viral Hepatitis held in Boston on October 29-31, 2002. The abstract of the presentation is published in UK-based medical journal Antiviral Therapy (2002; Vol 7, L115-L116).

This work was a result of the collaboration with Dr. Orapun Metadilogkul of Rajavithi Public Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. V-1 Immureboost (V1) is an oral therapeutic AIDS vaccine developed by Pharmacologist Mr. Vichai Jirathitikal. Immureboost is also licensed as a food supplement and as experimental R&D drug in Thailand.

V1 has been used by 60,000 AIDS patients in Thailand and 3,500 patients in 50 countries worldwide. Hepatitis is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease which may culminate in liver cancer. Hepatitis B causes 60% to 80% of the world's primary liver cancer with over one million people dying annually. Although preventive vaccines against some forms of hepatitis are available, they are only able to protect individuals who have not yet been infected. About 500 million individuals worldwide are infected with two major types of hepatitis B and C viruses. For those who are already infected, no effective and at the same time non-toxic and inexpensive therapy, is currently available.

Diagnosis of virally induced chronic hepatitis is often made when a patient presents elevated liver enzyme levels known as alanine (ALT or SGPT) and aspartate (AST or SGOT) aminotransferases. Many clinicians treat patients solely on the basis of clinical and biochemical abnormalities, i.e., elevated liver enzymes. Other clinical markers aiding the hepatitis diagnosis are abnormal levels of alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin.

Upon analysis of results of phase I study of V1 it has been discovered that HIV-positive patients who initially had higher than normal ALT and AST levels had experienced the reduction of enzyme levels back to normal. Similar reduction to normalcy was observed with two other markers of hepatitis, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin. Separately, three patients who were Hepatitis B antigen positive became negative after V1 therapy. In contrast, patients who had normal baseline liver enzyme levels have not experienced any significant changes.

According to liver enzyme profiles the response rate to V-1 Immureboost therapy was about 95%. This compares favourably with reported biochemical response of hepatitis to interferon (10-20%) or interferon and ribavirin combination (30-40%). New hepatitis drugs like GlaxoSmithKline is Lamivudine and Gileadís Adefovir have fewer side-effects than interferon but they are still not ideal. The virus generally returns once treatment is stopped and keeping a patient on a life-long treatment is not an option since drug resistance and toxicity are major concerns. Importantly, a 48-week combination of interferon and ribavirin treatment costs nearly $20,000 per person. In contrast, V1 is much cheaper; one pill of V1 costs less than U$ 1 cent.

Thus, it is possible that V-1 Immureboost might be useful for treating hepatitis, especially when one considers the fact that immunogenic constituents of V1 are derived from HIV-infected donors many of whom are co-infected with hepatitis B and C viruses. In this sense V1 is similar to the first generation of commercial Hepatitis B vaccine, which contained pooled viral antigens derived from the blood of hepatitis B carriers. Immureboost is now seeking to pursue this intriguing observation in controlled studies by recruiting patients with confirmed HIV and hepatitis. In closing Immureboost has just become a public company and is listed on the NASDAQ BB under IMBO.OB.

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RONALD FLYNN
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