Worldwide, 200 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and around 3 million individuals are newly infected each year (WHO). An estimated 15 million individuals are living with HCV infection within the European Community.
It is the principal cause of death from liver disease and the leading indication for liver transplantation. The transplanted liver becomes rapidly re-infected and is frequently destroyed within 5 years after transplantation.
More effective treatments are needed for those patients who are most ill, particularly those in receipt of a liver transplant.
The HepaMAb Consortium will progress human monoclonal antibodies into phase I/II clinical trial for the prevention of hepatitis C virus reinfection following liver transplantation. It will directly lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches to improve clinical outcome in this, the largest, cohort of liver transplant recipients.