NEW YORK, Nov. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A research team at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine led by Alain Litwin, M.D., was awarded $14 million by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to determine how best to treat hepatitis C among people who inject drugs (PWID), a group with a high rate of infection. A follow up portion of the study will also seek to understand why some patients develop resistance to therapies for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which causes the damaging liver disease.
"This study has major implications for controlling hepatitis C infection and reinfection rates," said Dr. Litwin, attending physician, internal medicine, Montefiore Health System and professor of medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Unfortunately, people who inject drugs rarely get effective, safe treatments because there is a concern that they won't take their medication or that they might become reinfected. Determining the best model of care will help us avert grave consequences of chronic infection for many people and reduce the spread of the virus in the communities we serve and beyond."
The national, multi-site study, titled Patient-Centered Models of HCV Care for People Who Inject Drugs, will involve 1,000 PWID infected with HCV. Investigators will compare two models of care that have proven effective: directly observed treatment (DOT), where patients take medication in front of a staff member, and the Patient Navigator (PN) model, where patients take their medications home and receive support and education from public health workers. The research team will evaluate which model produces the best results and is preferred by patients.
Guided by a national stakeholder group led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study will be conducted in conjunction with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Harvard Medical School, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Other key stakeholders in the study include Treatment Action Group, National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Group, Harm Reduction Coalition, National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery, Medication Assisted Recovery Services, Hepatitis Support and Mentor Group, Project Inform, Hepatitis Education Project, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, New York State Department of Health, New York City Department of Health, Gilead Sciences, OraSure Technologies, Quest Diagnostics, and Monogram Biosciences.
An estimated 146,500 New Yorkers and 2.7 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C, although about half do not know that they are infected. Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong condition. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with hepatitis C enters the blood stream of someone who is not infected. Today, people most often become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. In additional to conducting research to help doctors better care for those with addictions, Montefiore offers an array of substance abuse programs.
This award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.
About Montefiore Health System
Montefiore is a premier academic health system and the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Combining nationally-recognized clinical excellence with a population health perspective that focuses on the comprehensive needs of the communities it serves, Montefiore delivers coordinated, compassionate, science-driven care where, when and how patients need it most. Montefiore consists of eight hospitals and an extended care facility with a total of 2,747 beds, a School of Nursing, and state-of-the-art primary and specialty care provided through a network of more than 150 locations across the region, including the largest school health program in the nation and a home health program. The Children's Hospital at Montefiore is consistently named in U.S. News' "America's Best Children's Hospitals." Montefiore's partnership with Einstein advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. The health system derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community, and continues to be on the frontlines of developing innovative approaches to care. For more information please visit http://www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter; like us on Facebook; view us on YouTube.
About Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Einstein is home to 734 M.D. students, 236 Ph.D. students, 106 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 353 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 2,000 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2013, Einstein received more than $155 million in awards from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center –Einstein's founding hospital, and five other hospital systems in the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Brooklyn, Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.
About Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. For more information about PCORI's funding, visit www.pcori.org.
SOURCE Montefiore Health System