Herbal Compound Shows Promise in Treating Hepatitis C
By Editorial Staff
Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York are in the process of determining the effectiveness of a Japanese herbal product, sho-saiko-to, in treating patients with hepatitis C.
The product is the creation of a well-known herbal supplier headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, and is the subject of an ongoing phase II clinical trial.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, and affects about four million people in the U.S. In about 15% of cases, hepatitis C infection is acute, meaning it is cleared spontaneously by the body, without causing any long-term consequences. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, the infection becomes chronic and slowly damages the liver over many years. Over time, the damage caused by the hepatitis C virus can lead to cirrhosis (or scarring) of the liver, end-stage liver disease, and liver cancer. Typically, most hepatitis C patients are treated with interferon. However, treatment options are extremely limited for patients who are not candidates for interferon therapy.
The ongoing trial will attempt to treat patients who are either interferon-intolerant, or who have other symptoms of disorders that cause them to be unable to receive interferon therapy. The trial calls for a total of 31 patients to receive sho-saiko-to, at a dosage of 2.5 grams, three times daily, for 52 weeks. To date, 10 patients have completed the course of treatment, the results of which were reported at the Society for Integrative Oncology's conference in New York in November 2004. Of those 10, eight experienced reductions in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Reduction of viral load was documented in four patients, which suggests that sho-saiko-to possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. In addition, histologic liver biopsy responses were observed in two patients, providing evidence that the formula has an anti-fibrotic effect in chronic hepatitis C patients.
For more information on sho-saiko-to and related studies, please contact:
Jennifer Healy Honso USA, Inc. 4602 East Elwood Street, Suite 6 Phoenix, AZ 85040 Tel: 480-377-8787 E-mail: