Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Creates Comprehensive Hepatitis C Center

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New Center Tailored to Treat Rising Population for “Silent Killer”

Jonathan Fenkel, M.D.

At the Jefferson Hepatitis C Center, we are working to find effective treatment options for those chronically infected with hepatitis C.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital recently opened its new Jefferson Hepatitis C Center, one of only a few comprehensive, multidisciplinary centers dedicated to the study of hepatitis C virus and hepatic disease in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware tri-state area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.2 million Americans are infected with chronic hepatitis C – a virus that affects the liver. It is spread primarily by exposure to blood that is infected with hepatitis C. Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure, and is also the leading indication for liver transplant in the US. Baby boomers, anyone born between 1945 and 1965, are the largest patient population according to the CDC, accounting for as much as two-thirds of hepatitis C infections.

“The Jefferson Hepatitis C Center aims to offer a coordinated approach to treatment for patients with hepatitis C by some of the area’s most experienced hepatologists,” says Jonathan Fenkel, M.D., director of the Center.

If liver damage cannot be controlled, Jefferson is home to the longest continuously active liver transplantation program in the Philadelphia area.

While two million people in the US suffer from Hepatitis C, an additional 1-2 million are undiagnosed, putting them at risk for devastating long-term effects. The virus is often called the “silent killer” because it can produce no symptoms and can go undetected for decades.

The Jefferson Hepatitis C Center offers patients:

  •     A tailored program to meet individual needs
  •     A twice-weekly outpatient hepatitis C treatment clinic
  •     A multidisciplinary monthly HIV/hepatitis C coinfection clinic
  •     An active clinical trials program
  •     Expert consultations for referring physicians and patients including a detailed plan highlighting potential drug interactions and treatment considerations

In addition to Dr. Fenkel and Jefferson’s three experienced hepatologists, the Hepatitis C multidisciplinary team includes close collaboration with pathologists, infectious disease specialists, psychiatrists, radiologists, clinical pharmacists, and diagnostic laboratories; all of whom are highly experienced in the testing and evaluation of Hepatitis C and other liver conditions.

“At the Jefferson Hepatitis C Center, we are working to find effective treatment options for those chronically infected with hepatitis C,” says Dr. Fenkel. “Until recently, few medications were able to successfully treat this infection. But now, we are at the dawn of a new era. Patients have access to new, FDA-approved medications that make treatment successful for nearly four out of five patients. Also, even better medications are still being studied and patients will have access to these ongoing and future clinical trials.”

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH) are dedicated to excellence in patient care and education. It is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation's top hospitals. It has over 950 licensed acute care beds with major programs in a wide range of clinical specialties. TJUH is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. that is both a Level 1 Trauma Center and a federally-designated regional spinal cord injury center. TJUH patient care facilities include: Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, and Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia. Additional out-patient sites are located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. TJUH is a part of Jefferson Health System and a partner of Thomas Jefferson University.

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Jennifer McGowan Smith
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